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Living With War

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Tuesday, May 16th, 2006


Forget the politics for a second. This is Neil’s most energetic and melodic album since Ragged Glory. On a strictly musical level, it is one of his best ever.

If you are infuriated with George Bush and his cabal of satanists as much as most thinking people the lyrics just make you want to weep with joy.

This is a perfect piece of political art. Highlights include “Families,” “Shock and Awe” and, yes, “Let’s Impeach The President.”

I haven’t bought the CD yet (I will. . .) but it is streaming for free (and good quality) here.

Today’s the day our younger son
Is going off to war
Fightin’ in the age old battle
We’ve sometimes won before
Flags that line old main street
Are blowin’ in the wind
These must be the flags of freedom flyin’

Church bells are ringin’
As the families stand and wave
Some of them are cryin’
But the soldiers look so brave
Lookin’ straight ahead
Like they know just where they’re goin’
Past the flags of freedom flyin’

Sister has her headphones on
She hears the music blasting
She sees her brother marchin’ by
Their bond is everlasting
Listening to Bob Dylan singin’ in 1963
Watching the flags of freedom flyin’

She sees the president speakin’
On a Flat-screen TV
In the window of the old appliance store
She turns to see her brother again
But he’s already walkin’ past
The flags of freedom flyin’

Have you seen the flags of freedom?
What color are they now?
Do you think that you believe in yours
More than they do theirs somehow?
When you see the flags of freedom flyin’

Today’s the day our younger son
Is goin’ off to war
Fightin’ in the age old battle
We’ve sometimes won before
Flags that line old main street
Are blowin’ in the wind
These must be the flags of freedom flyin’


  1. Heard the entire stream of the album myself. On a scale of 1 to 10 with Neil Young albums, I’d rate it about 5 or 6. It’s pretty average, man — brings to mind Landing on Water in that it sounds right in some senses, but is somehow off.

    The lyrics are ham-fisted and simplistic. The music just isn’t quite there. Use of a trumpet with a power trio, much less a choir, isn’t such a good idea.

    Please understand, I think Neil has written some of the best political-leaning songs in recent history: Ohio, Powderfinger, Campaigner, Days That Used to Be, After the Gold Rush, Hawks and Doves, Thrasher, Pocahontas, Rockin in the Free World, Broken Arrow, etc. All those songs, and more, still kick ass.

    This stuff just feels like he got hit with a giant dumb stick. Let me put it this way — if you like Greendale, you’ll love this album. (I thought Greendale was pretty bad … as has been everything he’s done since Ragged Glory.) This just aint the Neil Young I grew up in awe of. Man.

    Comment by Bill R. — May 16, 2006 @ 2:25 pm

  2. No! No! Say it ain’t so!
    Listen to it again. The chorus stuff is the best part.

    Comment by Jordan Hoffman — May 17, 2006 @ 8:40 pm

  3. Instead I’ll put on “Revolution Blues” or “Powderfinger” to remember how this guy functioned when he was going full gun. This stuff just feels too wacky to me. I can’t wrap my mind around the trumpet.

    Comment by Bill R. — May 18, 2006 @ 10:07 am

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