In December, Neil Young released his 37th album soon after his visit to the protectors camp at Standing Rock after a recording session of only four days. In the month since it's release, Young’s Peace Trail has had mixed reviews, with lovers and haters.
While some of his tracks aren’t his most engaging things he’s done over his prolific six-decade music career, the album has merits. Most notably to Indian country is the song “Indian Givers,” that directly addresses the #NoDAPL water protectors.
In the song, Young says, in his famous drawl:
There’s a battle ragin’ on the sacred land
Our brother’s and sisters had to take a stand
Against us now for what we’ve all been doin’
On the sacred land, there’s a battle brewin’
Now it’s been about five hundred years
And we keep takin’ what we give away
Just like what we call INDIAN GIVERS
It makes me sick and gives me shivers
Big Money goin’ backwards and rippin’ the soil
Where graves are scattered and blood was boiled
When all who look can see the truth
But they just move on and keep their groove.
The song received words of appreciation from Indian country, and Young’s words mirror his consistent career of addressing the injustices faced by political underdogs.
The album is a smooth ride, with constant barrages of Neil Young’s familiar “Wake up, America!” sentiments. He hits the topics of Texas Rangers, the farmer John Oaks, who suffers the consequences of standing up to law enforcement, and throws in a track on “Terrorist Suicide Hang-Gliders”which addresses the sentiment of “people with funny names” moving into neighborhoods.
Terrorist suicide hang-gliders
In the sky above, you can’t see
Hidden there in the darkness
Behind the reasons that yer free
I got some news along the way
That I bring to you with sorrow
I never knew, til yesterday,
My life would end tomorrow
I think I know who to blame
It’s all those people with funny names
Movin’ into our neighborhood
How can I tell if they’re bad or good?
Young further hits on world issues in “My Pledge.” In the song, Young speaks about a world leaving him behind, one in which Jimi Hendrix is just a shadow and his “Purple Haze,” “just sounds like a TV.” He speaks of everyone talking to their phones and looking down as they walk on the street.
But perhaps the most interesting and strange track is “My New Robot,”in which he speaks of unpacking a new robot from Amazon.com. After a series of digital voices and requests to fill out pin numbers and swiping a credit card, the most interesting moment could perhaps be Young’s line:
Your media is already chosen
Based on your habits.
Though some might have criticized Young for his quick production of this album, it is well-worth a listen.
It's also worth noting, you can buy the album on Neil Young's website along with an organic cotton hat.
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