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Living With War

Neil Young Audio CD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 12.21 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Details


1. After the Garden
2. Living With War
3. The Restless Consumer
4. Shock and Awe
5. Families
6. Flags of Freedom
7. Let's Impeach the President
8. Lookin' for a Leader
9. Roger and Out
10. America the Beautiful

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Even if you don't agree with Neil Young's politics, you can't help but be daunted by the intersection of his genius and ire on his second album in less than seven months. It is the very rare artist who is able to channel indignation and moral disgust in such a coherent and forceful way--without sacrificing any of the vivid imagery, passion, or the high level of musicality that we have come to expect from him over the past four decades. But that's not what elevates this album: it's his pure, naked, visceral reaction to the Bush administration's foreign policy, building on a canon of outrage that he began with 1970's "Ohio," penned in the wake of the Kent State student deaths. But here he goes one better, filling in the lines that he began to draw on 2003's Greendale about a family caught in changing times. But Young's done with musing about lost ideals. On Living with War, he demands much more from his audience, and himself. This is nothing less than a call for fearless action in extraordinarily fearful times. --Jaan Uhelszki

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rock's biggest political chameleon speakin' out! Sept. 30 2006
Format:Audio CD
The issue of Neil Young's politics has been a contentious one ever since he put out "Ohio" as part of CSNY waaaaaaay back in 1970, a powerful song that definitely dumped Young into the bleeding heart liberal category of rockers. This is the man who gleefully announced Nixon's resignation onstage four years later, but also stated "Even Richard Nixon has got soul" in his 1976 song "Campaigner". For a Canadian (who maintains his Canadian citizenship, no less, even though he's resided in the States since the mid sixties), NY got extremely patriotic and jingoistic towards America by the time of 1980's "Hawks And Doves"; he then went on to spend most of the decade supporting and praising the hardline conservative Reagan administration, to the dismay of many fans and critics.

But so much for the history lesson...coming on the heels of the remarkable "Prairie Wind" album, NY brings us "Living With War", recorded over four days with his Prairie Wind rhythm section, as well as a 100-voice choir and trumpeter, both of which add very distinct melodic touches to these ten tracks. From a musical standpoint, one has to wonder why Young didn't make this record with Crazy Horse, since musically it would be right up the Horse's alley (minus the ten minute guitar solos). Anyway, as was mentioned everywhere from CNN to Jon Stewart's "Daily Show", "Living With War" is essentially a ten song rant about the failures of the second Bush administation post-9/11 and especially their adventures in Iraq. On this album, Neil Young makes his feelings about these issues painfully clear, he is clearly against the war, and his outspokenness on the subject should endear him to the left wing/anti-war movement everywhere.
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Format:Audio CD
Living with War is Neil Youngs latest and probably strangest album he's ever done. Some of the old rockin' hippies style and guitar flare is evident here but from a purely musical and artistic standpoint the album feels and sounds a little empty.

However, from a lyrical and spiritual perspective, one gets nothing but the honest truth and a powerful cry for justice and freedom for America and the world.

Some of the tracks sound and feel a little silly, (a little forced as well.) That's about the only thing that is obvious. Neil gets very personal and is purely sympathetic throughout the album for the victems of War and serious human problems like poverty, senseless death, children scarred and so on. The messages within the lyrics speak volumes. Very high conscience for the suffering that this latest American v.s. Iraqi conflict has inevitably created.

Also there is a genuine all out attack on President George Bush.

And most importantly, a great cry for peace and brotherhood.

Largely the album is enjoyable do to the force of intent that you feel Neil has expressed in this album. To do something to help and to give an answer and to really say something, but every track feels rushed and not very well played or thought out at all. It sort of comes across as a demo. The best song on the album for me was the good ole "America the Beautiful" which is all gospel in its rendition and has no Neil in it that is audible.

Its an anti-war album with class and good intentions but its a big splash in stead of a smooth ride. Not the best of Neils work. Its an obvious album to enjoy if you are anti-war but the album in its entirety is not fabulous.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  343 reviews
351 of 396 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart May 9 2006
By Mark A. Cartier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is electric Neil, not acoustic Neil.

I'm one of those people who is (I suppose) middle of the road and when i heard about this album was interested in how Neil would deliver his 'message'. Well, it's direct. Brutally so.

[...]

Shock and Awe is an all time classic Neil song (think Rockin in the Free World on steroids). Bank on that. The Restless Consumer is another great song. Families is a toe tapper. Let's Impeach the President is, well, a pretty decent song (musically a cousin to Powderfinger) but the lyrics are -well wow (Flip/Flop). Listen yourself. There are very few weak moments on this album. This isn't Harvest, Rust or Everybody Knows - but it's a good CD if you like electric Neil.

As someone wrote earlier, this may be the best protest 'album' ever recorded. It is sure to elicit some type of response from you, positive or negative. That's why it gets 5 stars. I highly recommend this album.

If you ever (even if just for a brief moment) think this country is going back to the days of "no taxation without representation", you should listen to this - even if just to admire what someone can do with his art with first amendment protection.

Unlike the brave "A Kids Review", I think we're all capable of knowing this is Neil's perception - not the person reading this (or writing it for that matter).
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From A Conservative Who Loves This Recording May 12 2006
By Sounding off - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Let me say this first and foremost, the last song is the best. The fact that Neil can play it straight up says a lot about where his heart is, and which is also a telling sign about what I think he's saying in a lot of these songs.

As an Canadian-American (I deliberately say this tongue in cheek) Neil's entitled to his opinion. Of course for many of those opinions I find myself 180 degrees to the right. As an artist he's entitled to infuse as many of those opinions into as much of his music as he likes, just as I am entitled to accept (like) or reject (dislike) the sum total of the product.

I like the product because, yes, I love it when Neil plays his axe angrily. Secondarily, I like Neil's earnestness. His musical partners (CSN)make me laugh anymore when they try to be topical. Drippy is all I can say. The irony to me is how so many who disavow God are so GD "preachy" about it. Neil on the other hand exudes righteous anger and I respect that.

The best moments for me:

- the way the music rises in "Living With War" to the lyrics:

The Rockets Red Glare
Bombs Bursting in Air
Give Proof Through The Night
That Our Flag Is Still There

(The fact is all of us are "Living With War," and feel its hurts, and want it to end, so that we can truly live in Peace. I suspect lots of other reviewers posting on this music would disagree with me about what that really means.)

- the stanza from "Families"

I'm goin' back to the USA
I just got my ticket today
I can't wait to see you again in the
USA

(Families torn asunder by war create massive longing and I respect the way Neil salutes the brave men and women sacrificing for the rest of us.)

- all of Flags of Freedom because a love of Bob Dylan (another god fearing and loving soul) is something that really is a bond between me and my kids.

- the end of Looking For A Leader

Looking for a leader
With The Great Spirit on his side

Someone walks among us
And I hope he hears the call
And maybe it's a woman
Or a black man afterall

(There is an underlying implication that Righteousness ordained by a higher power is what makes a person a leader...otherwise why would a person have to hear the call. Lincoln said it best when asked if God was on his side, saying he thought it more important to figure out how to be on God's side.)

- Roger and Out

good buddy

- America The Beautiful

Only God can bless a country where dissent is so openly accepted, because men are so damn spiteful and they prefer to quash it. Left or Right. Makes no difference.

America is The Beautiful Place To Be. And Neil knows it. That he sees some of the details differently from me -- well that's a big so what in my estimation. We have a lot in common. God Bless Neil.
38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rousing and inspiring, some of Neil's best music and lyrics May 10 2006
By John Stauber - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Living With War begins with Neil Young singing that we "won't need no shadow men running the government, won't need no stinking war". Angry, emotional words, but this is the most joyous and beautiful angry album I've ever heard.

This is truly an "Ohio" moment, and Living With War strikes a chord that will resonate with the millions of Americans who've tossed off their blinders and who see that this administration hijacked 9/11 for its own twisted political agenda. Now here we are mired in one disastrous war, watching this unpopular administration apparently trying to sell us another, just in time for an election.

Living With War is brilliant and inspiring on many levels: musically, politically, but also as a case study in guerrilla marketing and public relations. A couple of weeks ago word began to leak out that Neil Young, a proud and patriotic Canadian American whom many identify as conservative, was about to release a new song titled "Let's Impeach the President (For Lying)." Faster than you could say 'right-wing blogosphere' Young was in the media gun sights of pro-Bush, pro-war pundits rhetorically blasting him. Of course, none of these critics had heard the song, much less the entire Living With War album.

And what an album it is. It comes wrapped in a plain brown wrapper, but it bleeds red, white and blue. "When the night falls, I pray for peace.... I never bow to the thought police... I'm living with war in my heart and my mind" sings Young. Neil and his PR guerrillas played the attacks brilliantly, parlaying them into perhaps the largest virtual stage and audience that any rocker has ever had to blast out the release of what is Neil's most compelling and timely album.

The seventh song on the album is the one that brought the attacks that set the stage for today's unprecedented web launch. Here is part of what Neil has to say:

"Let's impeach the president for lying and misleading our country into war. Abusing all the power that we gave him... The White House shills who hide behind closed doors and bend the facts to fit with their news stories of why we had to send our men to war... Let's impeach the president for spying on citizens inside their own homes.... Tapping our computers and telephones.... What if Al Qaida blew up the levees? Sheltered by our government's protection, would New Orleans have been safer that way? Or was someone just not home that day?"

This rousing, upbeat song is backed by a hundred voice choir, as is much of the album, and is filled with audio clips of President Bush's 'flip flops' and false and misleading claims, snipped from news conferences and speeches. This song is a showtune anthem. The entire album is a pro-American, pro-family, pro-troops challenge to citizens in the United States, Neil's adopted homeland, to get it together and make change happen.

On Restless Consumer Neil targets the American addiction to oil and materialism, relating it to the war and to the greater failure to attack problems of poverty: "How do you pay for war and leave us dying? ... Don't need no Madison Avenue War. .... Don't need no more lies."

Shock and Awe is one the best rock anthems Neil has ever penned or played: "Back in the days of shock and awe.... history was a cruel judge of overconfidence ... Back in the days of mission accomplished our chief was landing on the deck. The sun was setting on the golden photo op. Thousands of bodies in the ground brought home in boxes to a trumpet sound. No one sees them coming home that way.... We had a chance to change our mind, but somehow wisdom was hard to find..."

Looking for a Leader calls out for people to arise "to reunite the red white and blue ... clean up the corruption and make the country strong. Someone walks among us and I hope he hears the call; maybe it's a woman, or a black man after all. Maybe its Obama, but he thinks he's too young. Maybe its Colin Powell, to right what he's done wrong. ... America is beautiful but she has an ugly side. We're looking for a leader... ."

Living With War builds from beginning to end, proudly pro-American, pro-troops, pro-freedom, while vehemently anti-war and anti-Bush. The lyrics are inspired; the music is classic, and the 100-voice choir warm and emotional. Some of the songs are about US soldiers, one dead from the war on Vietnam and the other Iraq. The Iraq vet in Families says: "there's a universe between us now, but I want to reach out and tell you how much you mean to me. ... I'm going back to the USA, I just got my ticket today."

In Roger and Out a living friend reflects on his long dead buddy from the 1960s: "Tripping down that old hippie highway, got to thinking about you again. Wondering how it really was for you, and how it happened in the end. ... We were just a couple of kids then, living each and every day, when we both went down to register, we were laughing all the way. ... I feel you in the air today. I know you gave for your country, roger and out good buddy."

Living With War closes appropriately with America the Beautiful, the hundred-voice choir providing the perfect closure to one of the strongest and certainly the most-brilliantly released calls for peace and justice ever from a musician of Young's stature. In releasing Living With War as he has, Young is clearly challenging his artistic peers, fellow patriots and all of us.
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it. May 9 2006
By Feeling Great - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The good news is a performer of note finally put our anger, disgust and frustration to music with powerful lyrics and has preserved our thoughts and feelings for future generations.

"Maybe it's Colin Powell...to right what he's done wrong." Neil has documented forever what happens when a good man does not speak out.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ol' Neil rocks in the free world May 14 2006
By R. M. Bowen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This album is loud and sloppy. Under-rehearsed and under-produced. Same three or four chords. Occasionally simplistic and naive. Above all, heartfelt and passionate. In other words, a classic Neil Young record.

As a lifelong Neil Young fan, it's difficult to believe that anyone claiming to be a fan is surprised and turned off by Neil's direction on this one. Neil's frequently played around with his persona, but his songs have always been pro-humanity, pro-environment, pro-justice and pro-peace. Maybe some people just listened to the chorus of songs like "Rockin' in the Free World" and didn't pay attention to the rest of the song (much as many people misinterpreted Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A.").

There's no mistaking Neil's angle this time. He's PO'd, and tired of being fed a steady diet of manipulative sloganeering, not unlike a lot of people. Neil is in the fortunate position of being able to plug in, turn up and give voice to this frustration.

It works. Songs such as "After the Garden," "Let's Impeach the President," and the title track rank up there with Neil's rawk classics "Cinnamon Girl," "Hey Hey My My," and the aforementioned "Rockin' in the Free World." The closing track, a simple gospel arrangement of "America the Beautiful" is understated and moving: Even the most ardent lefty will find his inner patriot and sing along.

Neil Young, the Canadian citizen, has based himself in the U.S.A. for 40 years. He has enriched our culture with his music. He has contributed to our economy by recording here, hiring American musicians, buying property (and protecting the wildlife on it), and paying taxes. His wife and kids are American citizens. Neil Young, the Canadian, has done more for American farmers, disabled and underprivileged than anyone in Washington. He's paid his dues, and can say what he wants. If you don't like it, don't buy it. Roger and out.
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