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Neil Young, Living with War

Neil Young’s Living with War is a reaction towards the Bush administration’s foreign policy and with song titles like, “Lookin’ for a Leader” and “Let’s Impeach the President” it’s pretty easy to tell how he feels about the leader of the free world. But like 2003’s Greendale, Young delves deeper into the album’s underlying theme to touch upon other issues like capitalism (“The Restless Consumer”) and the powerful bond of the American people (“Families,” “America the Beautiful”). Still, he is most candid about his thoughts about George W. Bush and his attacks are stinging — “Let’s impeach the president for hijacking / our religion and using it to get elected / dividing our country into colours / and still leaving black people neglected.” While Young is all fired up lyrically, the musical foundation of Living is old-school garage rock, comprised of Young, Chad Cromwell (drums) and Rick Rosas (bass). Many fans will be excited about Young going electric again, but really the trio is just pulling off recycled riffs from the Greendale sessions. What is different about Living is that every track has a full choir backing Young’s trademark yelp. At first the choir sounds hastily thrown together, but after more than a few spins, the choir’s dynamic adds fullness and ends up being the real heart and soul of the record. Living with War is a rough around the edges, in your face release about the abuse of power and why it’s so important with whom we give it to. But there’s always hope and that’s something Young leaves you with here. (Reprise)


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