‘Driftin’ Back‘ is a new 27 minute long mammoth song from ‘Psychedelic Pill‘, the album recently released from the the grizzled rocker Neil Young. Psychedelic Pill marks his 37th studio album, and it is a strong return to form for Young, with his ever trusty backing band Crazy Horse providing the fuzz. I do have a soft spot for long songs, as I personally feel it lets the listener become enveloped within the musicians own feelings, and truly lets the song develop a nature of its own. The album is a wonderful sludge-fest which is filled with biting lyrics from Young, obviously recorded in a feisty and somewhat downbeat mood. In fact this album is generously laced with long interludes of extended songs throughout, starting with ”Driftin’ Back’ as the opening song, and then continuing with the mini epics ‘Ramada Inn‘ and ‘Walk Like a Giant‘s slotted in. To be fair this album is also a gorgeous 89 minute long bitter love affair, and one I thoroughly adore.
Discovering Neil Young came at a time that was just right for me, as I became engulfed in discovering alternative music from the 80’s/90’s. Ever since starting to play the guitar, I had always loved the sloppy, imperfect musicianship of alternative bands (even though there is, of course, much technical and artistic skill in playing music). I liked the rough and ready emotion of many of the bands, and Young’s music seemed to fit right into this. Although he has graced many different musical styles over his long career, Neil Young has never been one for glossing over the actual lyrical depth or emotional content, and whilst it is easy to fall for one particularly genre in his epic musical oeuvre*, I’d unceasingly ask to you to venture to hear his older music. It can be devastating in its emotional charge, as found in songs such as ‘Needle and the Damage Done’ and ‘Hey Hey, My My (Into to the Black)‘.
For all the latest news and upcoming tours, a visit to his website will surely direct you to it. It also has a Neil Young Times, a quite in-depth version of his own newspaper where you can learn about the various supports and causes Young champions (Young even has a new species of trapdoor spider named after him). Young is certainly not adverse to airing his feelings, and championing his causes. One of the first albums I heard by him was the uncompromising 2006 album ‘Living With War‘, in which he let rip his feelings on American’s invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, alongside the serving president at the time George Bush Jr. His comment on why he felt he had to write this album (staggeringly wrote and recorded within a month) on being critical about American politics, he responded ‘I was hoping some young person would come along and say this and sing some songs about it, but I didn’t see anybody, so I’m doing it myself. I waited as long as I could’ (from Wikipedia). This is all you need to know about Neil Young; he fights and encourages for what he believes, and will produce beautiful music while doing so.
I hope you can find the time to listen to the new song, ‘Driftin’ Back’, of his new album, and maybe become acquainted, if you aren’t already, with a rocker who never ceases to stop. He has also just released his new autobiography ‘Waging Heavy Peace’ to widespread acclaim, and I think it will find it’s way onto my reading list. Meantime, enjoy the music.
* I haven’t even mentioned his musical adventures in ‘Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’ or ‘Buffalo Springfield’, or his burgeoning career in directing films and documentaries.