Neil Young “The Times” EP is This Weeks 97X Rock Club
Back before the world melted I did a thing called "Rock Club" where I would recommend an album to listen to. Like a book club but for rock & roll. Those who were interested would take some time to listen and email me their thoughts.
Then I would compile my thoughts & theirs and it was a fun little album review.
Then it started to feel like homework. Instead of a "recommendation" it was like an assignment and took some of the joy out of listening to music.
So I stopped.
Then I talked with Jon Burns from Ragged Records about doing a quick back & forth video and he recommended Neil Young's new EP. We weren't able to connect last week unfortunately and I already see wrenches being thrown in on my end schedule-wise. So, instead of a great conversation with Jon...you get me & my thoughts.
To which I hope you'll add your two cents on social media and tell me where I'm wrong and where I'm right and we can have a loose...non scheduled conversation about music.
So...back to business. Neil Young did a few sessions back in 2020 where he would livestream solo concerts to connect with fans as we all dealt with everything that 2020 threw at us.
From COVID, to Black Lives Matter protests, to a presidential campaign...there was a lot to talk about. A lot to think about. And a lot to care about.
Neil pulled from his vast musical catalog to show support to people and to protest others. This songs he picked to include on this EP are no accident.
"Alabama" from the Harvest album..."Campaigner" from Decade...."Ohio" who's percussive riff and stomping beat sounds like a march.
Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin’", and "Southern Man" both beg for change while "Little Wing" closes the set with a hopeful message though somber in tone "the winter is the best time of them all".
In the middle there's "Lookin’ for a Leader". A new song that doesn't mince words at all.
America is beautiful
But she has an ugly side
We're lookin' for a leader
In this country far and wide
It goes on praise Obama & Biden and bash the administration at the time. This isn't a album that you'll pop on and work in the garage or jam with the windows down on a sunny day. And if you're a Trump guy I'm not sure you'll be able to look past the message to enjoy the music.
Pretty sure that's the point though.
All and all I enjoyed the album specifically because of how it was put together. It wasn't mixed & produced to death. It's raw and real from the subject matter to the foot stomps that sometimes fight the guitar and melody for a place in front.
I'd be really interested to hear this on vinyl simply because I know Neil Young is a stickler for audio quality and compressed mp3 was not how he intended it to be heard.
Or maybe he just intended for it to be heard and that can be enough.