I had been gearing up to finally give the new Neil Young a spin when I received a serendipitous e-mail from a friend:
"How is the new Neil Young? I trust you guys to give me the straight dope."
Before I could reply (or listen), another friend who had been copied on the e-mail, replied:
"I would file it right next to Living With War and Fork In The Road as the Neil Young uselessly singing "Let's... all do the thing I'm di-rectly stating because I say so (band plays riff again)" trilogy.
I'm as liberal as Neil if not more, but he sounds like he thinks Ohio worked because he sang "hey, let's all stop shooting college students today (guitar goes kachung-kachung, scree screeeeee)" instead of "tin soldiers and Nixon's comin'..."
I put "The Monsanto Years" right back on the shelf next to the still unplayed "Storytone" and listened to "On The Beach" instead.
I'm sure I've expressed my feelings about Neil before, so I will let my friend who sent the e-mail explain his, since we are on the same page:
"I love Neil Young. He has made a ton of shit that I cannot fucking stand. ("Greendale") He has also made some of my most favorite fucking music of all time. (The "Rust Never Sleeps" album.)
I have a challenge for all who are up for it. It's a little something that goes like this:
You are being considered for a dream position (when there was one) at Warner Brothers. The job is just about yours, but you have one last hurdle. You need to compile a 2 LP set- "The Best Of Neil Young: 1980-2014." It must be chronological and properly follow the time contraints of an album side (approximately 20 minutes per side) and must not include anything live or previously unreleased.
I look forward to the results.