Last night, Neil Young made a few appearances at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village. The theater has been hosting a week long Bernard Shakey movie retrospective, ending tonight. Shakey is, of course, Young’s nom de cinema.
A late addition Wednesday night was a screening of the work-in-progress film, “The Monsanto Years,” which is also rumored to be the title of his new album. After tickets for a 11:20 p.m. screening, introduced by Young, sold quickly, another 11:45 showing on a neighboring screen, also with Young, was added. This was after a Q & A session with Young at the end of the 9:30 screening of his film “Muddy Track.”
“The Monsanto Years” is a one hour film, based around all new songs, with little bits inserted in between. I jotted down the song titles in the dark during the screening, so a few- listed below – might not be accurate. The titles were changed and added on the marquee outside of a movie theater before each song, by two people dressed in yellow Devo-esque hazmat suits. The theater itself was the “Teatro,” the name of a Willie Nelson album produced by Daniel Lanois, both closely associated with Young. The band that played on the album with Young, Promise of the Real, features two of Nelson’s sons.
Here’s the track list for “The Monsanto Years,” as far as I can tell:
- BIG BOX
- A ROCK STAR BUCKS COFFEE SHOP (?)
- RULES OF CHANGE
- WORKING MAN
- MONSANTO YEARS
- A NEW DAY FOR LOVE
- WOLF MOON
- PEOPLE WANT 2 HEAR ABOUT LOVE
- IF I DON’T KNOW
The movie/album is similar in tone to “Living With War” and “Fork in the Road”: Immediate, angry, politically charged songs, mostly drenched in trademarked, equine garage grunge. I’ll try to expand on what I saw in a future article, but here are a few highlights:
- Young sings about Monsanto, critically and repeatedly, on a few songs. Starbucks also receives a tongue lashing.
- The song “Monsanto Years” is over seven minutes long.
- Young plays electric guitar on all songs except “Wolf Moon,” which features Neil on acoustic guitar and harmonica.
- After members of the band quoted some avant garde Beatles moments from “Revolution 9” and the inner groove of “Sgt. Pepper,” following “People Want 2 Hear About Love,” the next song “If I Don’t Know” has a feel similar to “Dear Prudence.”
Check out the slide show embedded in this article.
More later, with video.
Of the dozens of Dylan Internet sites … Expecting Rain … and the zoomdune.com Bob Dylan blog by Harold Lepidus are the best places for up-to-the-minute Dylan news – David Kinney, “The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob.” (Simon & Schuster, 2014)
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