Friday, December 17, 2010

Playlist Week Day 5 -- Neil Young

[This weekend, I got the new issue of Rolling Stone, which included a bunch of specific playlists like Bono's David Bowie playlist or Ozzy Osbourne's Beatles playlist. So, for this week, I'll be doing five playlists of ten songs per artist/band each day with some brief comments on the song. All songs in chronological order.]

It's motherfuckin' Neil Young.

1. "The Loner" (1968) from Neil Young: The stuff about the guy being on the subway, sitting at the back, reminded me of me sitting at the back of the bus...

2. "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" (1970) from After the Gold Rush: Man, is that title wrong or what? Or is it? The "I have a friend I never see..." predicted the internet age... if you take it literally.

3. "A Man Needs a Maid" (1972) from Harvest: I love the Live as Massey Hall version of this where the lyrics talk about being 'afraid' a bit more. But, there's something sad and loneyly about this song. Some think it's sexist, but it's really just about a guy who's so lonely that he may as well get a maid, because that's the only way to have a woman around his place these days. I love the overproduction.

4. "Revolution Blues" (1974) from On the Beach: Angry and darkly funny. Sure, it's about Charles Manson, but it's also about how shitty LA is. One of those songs that I can play over and over forever.

5. "Cortez the Killer" (1975) from Zuma: Killer guitar work. "Cotez, Cortez, what a killer, man." What? He was!

6. "Campaigner" (1977) from Decade: "Even Richard Nixon has got soul." Imagine singing a song with that in it? Young went where he wanted. And this song captures something about politics and wanting to be loved. A rare one that's worth tracking down.

7. "Powderfinger" (1979) from Rust Never Sleeps: A story song that has a good driving rhythm.

8. "Crime in the City (Sixty to Zero Part I)" (1989) from Freedom: Fuck, this song is so cynical and bitter. The stuff about producing a record is just mean. This song is about as bad an indictment of the Reagan years as anything else.

9. "Harvest Moon" (1992) from Harvest Moon: "When we were strangers, I watched you from afar / When we were lovers, I loved you with all my heart." I love that line. For some reason, I obsessively listened to this song one day in my third year of university. I had this poli-sci class of maybe 30 people. A seminar class and one of the students in the class died. Class was cancelled as a result and I looked around when we were told and I couldn't see anyone missing. That feels like it should mean something, but I've never been able to figure out what... except that I'm a dick.

10. "Ordinary People" (2007) from Chrome Dreams II: A loooooooooooooong song, but one that sums up Young's caring about the average guy. As much as a man like Neil Young can. This brings in his political stuff, his Farm Aid stuff, his electric car stuff... not explicitly, but it's all there.


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