SoundBite: Neil Young gets topical with new ‘Fork in the Road’
April 24, 2009
Give Neil Young credit for following his muse.
Throughout his storied career, Young has never been one to shy away from the idiosyncratic project, whether his fans want to come along or not.
On his latest, the hastily written and recorded “Fork in the Road,” Young takes on the hot topics of the day. He sings about electric cars, green energy, bailouts and even his own career.
“I’m a big rock star,” Young drolly sings over a thumping blues beat on the title track, the best song on the record. “My sales have tanked, but I still got you. Thanks!”
It’s a very funny song. How could it not be when Young starts it off by talking about his pot belly?
Funny, yes. But just because it’s funny doesn’t mean it can stand alongside Young’s best work, or that it will stand the test of time. That’s the problem with topical records like “Fork in the Road.”
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And then there’s songs like “Fuel Line” with lyrics extolling the virtues of electric cars that come off as borderline silly: “The awesome power of electricity, stored for you in a giant battery.”
“Fork in the Road” takes on the issues of the day much like 2006’s “Living With War” did, but only in a kinder, gentler way.
While on the earlier record Young was venting his anger and frustration over President George W. Bush and the Iraq War, on “Fork in the Road” the most vitriol Young hurls is at fat cats on Wall Street.
“There’s a bailout coming but it’s not for me,” Young sings on the title track. “It’s for all those creeps watching tickers on TV.”
Go get ’em, Neil.
Check This Track Out: It only takes one listen to Young spitting out the chorus to “Cough Up the Bucks” to have it stuck in your head for hours. And Young taps into questions that a lot of people are likely having in this time of government bailouts and recession: “Where did all the cash flow? Where did all the money go? Cough up the bucks!”