Living with War
Minutes after hearing the National Guard had opened fire on a student-organized anti-war protest at Kent State, Neil Young wrote the stirring classic “Ohio.” Forty years later, the venom in his voice is just as toxic on the brilliant anti-war opus Living With War. While the album has already been weighed down in the mainstream press by its pointed theme, the blatant audacity of its delivery can’t be underestimated. With a new generation of musicians coming up relatively silent on the US’s current military activity, it is an aging Canadian that delivers the first real attack with a forgotten arm. While much of Young’s recent work wears the author’s age on its sleeve, Living with War feels as youthful as past classics After the Gold Rush or On the Beach. Take his snarled “Yeah…” after the George Bush speech samples in “Let’s Impeach the President”: It’s one of those tiny moments in rock n’ roll that lifts everything else with its presence. It may only be a fraction of the whole disc, but it’s unforgettable, punching above the level intensity found on the rest of the album, to deliver a true, pure moment. While the closing track, a choral version of “America the Beautiful,” is a bit overwrought for an album this raw, the rest of the disc is a powerful document capturing a corrupt time. His best in years…again.