Clip: On His New Album, Neil Young Calls for Bush's Impeachment
On His New Album, Neil Young Calls for Bush's Impeachment
By JEFF LEEDS
Published: April 18, 2006
LOS ANGELES, April 17 — Neil Young, who has periodically touched on
political themes during a four-decade career, plans to release a
hastily recorded new album ruminating on the war in Iraq and directly
calling for the impeachment of President Bush.
The 10-song album, "Living With War," will probably represent Mr.
Young's most overtly partisan work since the song "Ohio," recorded and
quickly released by the group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young as a
response to the Kent State shootings in 1970.
Elliot Roberts, Mr. Young's longtime manager, said the album would be
"more about soldiers" and "what it's like to all of a sudden be 18 and
on the line."
The titles on the album include "Let's Impeach the President," which
features Mr. Bush's voice overlaid above a 100-voice choir singing,
"Flip flop." Another title is "Lookin' for a Leader." The album also
includes an a cappella version of "America the Beautiful," sung by Mr.
Young with the choir.
Mr. Roberts said that he did not know exactly what had inspired Mr.
Young to record the new songs, which were written and recorded in a
span of roughly two weeks, but that "I know he watches the news." He
added that he believed the album's sentiments would resonate broadly,
adding that "it's not a political, Democratic versus Republican feel."
The album comes at a time when major record companies and radio
stations appear to have developed a degree of comfort with bluntly
political material. The latest song from the band Pearl Jam, "World
Wide Suicide," which accuses the president of taking soldiers'
sacrifices for granted, recently logged three weeks at No. 1 on the
Billboard modern-rock airplay chart. And Green Day's 2004 album
"American Idiot" which addresses themes of alienation but also
includes lyrics like "Sieg Heil to the president gasman," has emerged
as a blockbuster, selling more than 5.4 million copies so far,
according to Nielsen SoundScan data.
Mr. Young has expressed varying views on politics over the years. In
the 1980's he openly supported Ronald Reagan, but he has since become
a fairly consistent critic of Republican administrations.
His 1989 song "Rockin' in the Free World" implicitly criticized the
first President Bush. In "Greendale," a film he directed to accompany
his 2003 album of the same name, Mr. Young sings lyrics nodding to the
Patriot Act — "We'll be watching you/ No matter what you do" — against
images of former Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Mr. Roberts said that he had not yet played the new music for
executives at Mr. Young's record label, the Warner Brothers/Reprise
unit of Warner Music Group, but that he expected the album to be
released as soon as June. Mr. Young's last album, "Prairie Wind," has
sold about 452,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
On his Web site (neilyoung.com), Mr. Young describes the recording as
"a metal version of Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan. ... Metal folk protest?"
The site also displays a scrolling sample of lyrics from the album:
And when the dawn breaks I see my fellow man
And on the flat-screen we kill and we're killed again
And when the night falls, I pray for peace
Try to remember peace.