Neil Young + Promise of the Real, “The Visitor” (Reprise Records)
Neil Young is unhappy.
That’s good news for music fans.
Young is back and crotchety in “The Visitor,” a record that finds him lashing out against President Donald Trump, environmental degradation, the fate of mankind and nearly everything in between.
He doesn’t go full-Grandpa Simpson here but it is close. Not that it’s a bad thing.
Young sets the mood right out of the gate with “Already Great,” a not-so-subtle dig at Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”
“You’re the promise land, the helping hand,” Young sings in the first of many digs against the president. “No wall. No hate. No fascist USA.”
With backing once again from the band Promise of the Real, the 72-year-old Young continues taking a stand on this his 39th record - something most pop stars young enough to be his grandchildren refuse to do.
He’s also all over the map musically. The freewheeling journey finds Young exploring Caribbean and Latin music on “Stand Tall,” the blues on “Diggin’ a Hole” and funk on “When Bad Got Good.” He also brings in a full-blown orchestra, but just for one song. Why overdo it?
Young closes the record with a familiar environmental anthem “Forever,” hitting on themes he’s returned to repeatedly over his 50-year career.
“Earth is like a church without a preacher,” Young sings during the 10-minute song. “The people have to pray for themselves.”
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