The Painter


“If you follow every dream, you might get lost.”

So, don’t follow every dream, then? Tell us your wisdom, Neil Young. This is Young in campfire mode, so he’d probably advise you to follow every winding road and get as lost as you need to before you find your calling, or something along those lines. Don’t mistake this mellow, corny troubadour for the only side of Neil Young, though. Catch him in eco warrior mode and he’ll tell you that your dreams’ days are numbered because the planet is dying and we’re all doomed. Young has toggled between those two extremes throughout his career, and though he’s been as dedicatedĀ an activist as any star, it’s still mellow campfire Neil that sells the records. It’s no wonder though; he still easily recaptures that sweet laid back intimacy of his early classics. Songs about love and loneliness never lose their appeal, no matter where the artist or his audience are in life, and as the artist gets older, thoughts about mortality and the passage of life increasingly become the subject. Death and aging are topics Neil Young can handle with grace, having long faced his own human fragility from childhood polio, to living with epilepsy, to raising his own disabled children, to dealing with the death of his father. On the other hand, politically strident anthems – such as those from Young’s recent eco-themed The Monsanto Years – are more likely to be unintentionally hilarious than enlightening. But if sometimes Young’s music sinks under the weight of his convictions, we forgive him, because he always rebuts himself with something personal and beautiful.

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