Neil Young

Living With War

You can hear this album for free on Neil Young’s Web site (, but it’s worth getting a copy you can play on your best set of speakers. Young was working under genuine inspiration when he cut these 10 songs in six days this March with just a bass player, drummer, trumpeter and 100-voice choir to supplement his ragged vocals and fuzzed-out, jagged guitar-playing. That’s right, 100-voice choir. The music is bare bones and almost harsh in its rawness, but even when he’s working in a hurry, Young comes up with anthemic melodies and dynamic song structures. The album title sums up the lyrical content, which ranges from the homesick longing of “Families” to the queasy gallantry of “Flags of Freedom” to the bitter indictment of “Let’s Impeach the President,” which uses audio samples of George W. Bush’s speeches to illustrate his self-contradictions and outright lies. Just to make it perfectly clear that this is an anti-war—not an anti-American—endeavor, the album closes with a beautiful 101-voice rendition of “America the Beautiful.”