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Record Rating: ****

Neil Young - Living With War - Warner Music After Young left the band Buffalo Springfield in 1968, he slowly established himself as one of the most idiosyncratic and influential singer songwriters of his generation. Having donned enough guises over the years ~ from a bare-knuckled blues brawler to a spiritual rock spelunker ~ it's no longer surprising to find him diving into previously uncharted sonic waters. And every once in awhile, Young sits down to take stock of the general swirl of humanity, and then picks up his guitar to craft one of his archetypal spare sets.

His latest release Living With War is one of those, a collection of protest songs against the war in Iraq, which spends plenty of time in the here-and-now of American life. Even though he’s a Canadian, it's clear he loves America enough to care, as the ten tracks are nothing but odes to his adopted homeland.

First single Let's Impeach The President offers ample evidence that Young is still at the top of his game as an interpreter of the people, with the track’s innovative litany of flips and flops accompanied by excerpts from Bush's own speeches. And it sets the pace for the rest of the album; Shock And Awe takes a poke at Bush's mission accomplished creeds, while in Lookin' For A Leader he desperately cries out for someone sane to take over America.

Singing here with more energy than he has in almost a decade, he tries to shake things up and stir a complacent audience to feel ashamed of America and its leaders. If we put the politics aside and go by the music, the tracks are rock and roll for the most part, but if you’re a big fan of his earlier work, you will be disappointed.

Read our other reviews:

Chris Isaak ~ The Best Of Chris Isaak       Ronan Keating - Bring You Home       Nelly Furtado - Loose       Krishna Trance 2 - Various Artists      


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