Friday, September 03, 2004
My favorite Neil Young record is On the Beach. It's a sad, chilled out retreat from a world of pain and disease, littered with haunting lines that may have spoke at the time to Young's resentment of an image driven, soul devouring "business" like pop music and by extension a world easily duped by hollow pop stars and lying leaders (nothing new, eh?), but ultimately it's a statement about stepping beyond that anger. It's about doing what he sings on the slow blues trance of the title track:
I head for the sticks with my bus and friends.
I follow the road, no I don't know where it ends.
Get out of town, get out of town...
Think I'll get out of town.
Cuz the world is turnin'...
And I don't wanna see it turn away.
On the Beach is something of an answer to the anger and sadness previously exorcised on Tonight's the Night. It's one of my favorite albums precisely for this reason. It's about confronting your fears and demons more than ignoring them, and ultimatley moving on. It resides on a similar plane as Robert Wyatt's Rock Bottom and few others (Can you think of any? Blood on the Tracks comes close) in terms of spiritual transcendence. Too many songwriters ultimately lose the moral/human struggle fought in their music, whether by surrendering to those demons, or simply forgetting what matters most. In the end success is a personal meter no society can really measure.
Posted by Lee at 1:51 PM