Yes it’s true – they’re linked.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Neil Young. For over fifty years, and it’s also true that I kind of take offense about all the jokes going around. About how we Boomers don’t have a clue about Spotify, because we’re so old and the streaming music service is beyond us. That’s not true.
In fact recently I wrote about my relationship with the artist here.
I love his music, the earlier stuff anyway. I pretty much gave up on him after Greendale in 2003. Something happened to him. That was almost twenty years ago.
If you look at my list it ends about then. However, Young’s always been political and environmentally concerned. He would write songs about things that matter. What happened? What changed.
The Trump Connection
is what. And Daryl Hannah? In This Note’s For You (1988) Young declared he would never “sing for politicians”; and then he sang for Bernie Sanders in 2020. In the documentary Barn (directed by Hannah) and in subsequent interviews, the artist debases and derides Donald Trump. Why?
Maybe it has to do with the fact that about ten years ago Young went to Trump and tried to sell him something? There is a picture of Mr. Young in Donald Trump’s office in Trump Tower. Donald Jr. posted it on Instagram. Young is smiling, but no deal was done. Hmmm …
It’s a shame
that some men grow old and bitter. Women, too. I hope I don’t. And yeah, I could use a maid, especially now that I’m older and chores are tougher. A mermaid, or cute-girl killer would be awesome!
Art and artists,
can you separate the two? I don’t know. However I did ask the question in my book Election 2016. Specifically regarding Neil Young’s Cortez the Killer. Here’s what I wrote:
There are two vastly different stories about America (USA). One is Trump’s: that of the hero’s journey—that of George Washington, Daniel Boone, Davy Crocket, John Wayne, Henry Ford, Rocky Balboa, Ronald Reagan, and Donald Trump. The other is that of Hillary Clinton’s: that of the victim—that of the enslaved, conquered, oppressed, and abused, that of “Cortez the Killer” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paeNnR33i5Q) and Donald Trump. Is it possible that both are true? If not for one, the other would not exist. There is contrast and con ict. And then the question is, who decides? Which version/ cover of Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” do you prefer? Is the story in any way accurate? Artistically, it is brilliant, as evidenced by the many moving renditions/covers, but does that make it true? Or is it merely art—someone’s representation of that which is? Can you fall in love with the artist, the messenger, and at the same time, refute the message? (p174-5n82)
and Joe Rogan begs the question: Is Neil Young nuts? Did he really think Spotify would choose him over Joe? It’s not even close. But I regret it. I made a playlist called Time Fades Away which was all my favorite Young songs derived from my blog post. They’re gone now. What’s left is the Buffalo Springfield numbers. And Spotify is recommending more.
It’s a sad, sad song and sad end to a once great singer song writer. RIP Neil. Hope she makes you happy.