Essential Neil Young

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from MattyScornD. Show MattyScornD's posts

    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:

    And that's fine.  IMO, rock is not supposed to be perfect or smart or totally original all the time.  I think of a song like "Wonderwall".  Great song.  I love it.  But the lyrics are just nonsense, and the writer admitted as such.  "I Am The Walrus"...great song, silly lyrics.



    I think there is a differentiation between the nonsense in lyrics like "Wonderwall" and in "I Am The Walrus".  Lennon's lyrics are nonsense, but in the vein of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll...they're deliberately weird, grotesque, psychedelic, disturbing.

    I'm just quibbling on that one particular point. 

     



    Point taken.  

    I can appreciate absurdism in all its forms, i.e. "silly in a good way".

    Per John's admission himself, perhaps I should have used "Nowhere Man" as more salient example.

     

     

     

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from ZILLAGOD. Show ZILLAGOD's posts

    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:

    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:

    And that's fine.  IMO, rock is not supposed to be perfect or smart or totally original all the time.  I think of a song like "Wonderwall".  Great song.  I love it.  But the lyrics are just nonsense, and the writer admitted as such.  "I Am The Walrus"...great song, silly lyrics.



    I think there is a differentiation between the nonsense in lyrics like "Wonderwall" and in "I Am The Walrus".  Lennon's lyrics are nonsense, but in the vein of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll...they're deliberately weird, grotesque, psychedelic, disturbing.

    I'm just quibbling on that one particular point. 

     



    Point taken.  

    I can appreciate absurdism in all its forms, i.e. "silly in a good way".

    Per John's admission himself, perhaps I should have used "Nowhere Man" as more salient example.

     

     

     



    But, 'Nowhere Man' is a song with lyrics that mean something the "Nowhere Man" is Lennon himself.....it is a man looking at his life , his success, his failure ( and Lennon had plenty of both) and admitting that he is still a confused, scared, and insecure person. As with all Lennon's later songs, it is loaded with psychological material....the man had lots of confused thoughts....he was a hopeless drug addict, yet tells us all we need is love....he needed love and drugs....and who knows what else? We learn alot about John the man from his lyrics. His I Am The Walrus was a deliberate poke at people who were trying to find "hidden meanings" in Beatles songs....very well done.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from devildavid. Show devildavid's posts

    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to ZILLAGOD's comment:

     


    But, 'Nowhere Man' is a song with lyrics that mean something the "Nowhere Man" is Lennon himself.....it is a man looking at his life , his success, his failure ( and Lennon had plenty of both) and admitting that he is still a confused, scared, and insecure person. As with all Lennon's later songs, it is loaded with psychological material....the man had lots of confused thoughts....he was a hopeless drug addict, yet tells us all we need is love....he needed love and drugs....and who knows what else? We learn alot about John the man from his lyrics. His I Am The Walrus was a deliberate poke at people who were trying to find "hidden meanings" in Beatles songs....very well done.




    How do you know what any song is really about? How do you know Lennon is not poking fun at you? We have to be careful when interpreting any work of art not to confuse the art with the artist. It is often difficult to pin down the "real" meaning of a song. There can be as many meanings as there are listeners. That is the nature of songs and their meanings that Lennon was well aware of. He saw the absurdity of fans analyzing everything about The Beatles and their songs looking for profound hidden meanings. A song is just a song, sometimes expressing feelings or sometimes just a bunch of words and music with no deep significance other than fun and entertainment. If you want deep philosophy, read the works of a philosopher.  A song can't be expected to convey all that much.

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    I don't know, the lyrics to 'Nowhere Man' are pretty explicit.  'Doesn't have a point of view, knows not where he's going to, isn't he a bit like you and me.'  You don't really have to read between the lines on this one.

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:

    I don't know, the lyrics to 'Nowhere Man' are pretty explicit.  'Doesn't have a point of view, knows not where he's going to, isn't he a bit like you and me.'  You don't really have to read between the lines on this one.



    But can we say this is explicitly a John Lennon confessional only about himself? Or is it about people in general? Can the listener see himself as the Nowhere Man?

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to devildavid's comment:

    But can we say this is explicitly a John Lennon confessional only about himself? Or is it about people in general? Can the listener see himself as the Nowhere Man?



    Right...I see it as an artistic technique...writing in the third person so you have the use of a mask or a protagonist.  It could be autobiographical or not. 

     

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from devildavid. Show devildavid's posts

    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:

    In response to devildavid's comment:

    But can we say this is explicitly a John Lennon confessional only about himself? Or is it about people in general? Can the listener see himself as the Nowhere Man?



    Right...I see it as an artistic technique...writing in the third person so you have the use of a mask or a protagonist.  It could be autobiographical or not. 

     



    Let me pull Neil Young into this. "Sugar Mountain" seems like it is autobiographical, and it probably is. But is the song just about Neil Young? Or is it Neil Young using his personal experience to express feelings we can all relate to about longing for the more innocent pleasures of youth, the regret we may feel about the passage into adulthood. When a listener hears a song, it can be completely divorced from the singer. We really shouldn't need to know anything about the singer's personal life. The song should stand on its own.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from MattyScornD. Show MattyScornD's posts

    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:

    I don't know, the lyrics to 'Nowhere Man' are pretty explicit.  'Doesn't have a point of view, knows not where he's going to, isn't he a bit like you and me.'  You don't really have to read between the lines on this one.



    And yet, I recall from the Imagine film John talking to a vagrant at his country home saying "it's literally a nonsense song", and I believe that's the song he was talking about.

    I might also argue the lyrics are rather unexplicit with no names, symbols, events or situations...and if intentionally non-specific, it becomes a song "about nothing".

    Now, I'm intrigued to find actual examples in other pop music of incongruity, lyrical soup, or rhymes used just for the sake of rhyming (e.g. absent real uses of metaphor).

     

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from ZILLAGOD. Show ZILLAGOD's posts

    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to devildavid's comment:

     

    In response to ZILLAGOD's comment:

     


    But, 'Nowhere Man' is a song with lyrics that mean something the "Nowhere Man" is Lennon himself.....it is a man looking at his life , his success, his failure ( and Lennon had plenty of both) and admitting that he is still a confused, scared, and insecure person. As with all Lennon's later songs, it is loaded with psychological material....the man had lots of confused thoughts....he was a hopeless drug addict, yet tells us all we need is love....he needed love and drugs....and who knows what else? We learn alot about John the man from his lyrics. His I Am The Walrus was a deliberate poke at people who were trying to find "hidden meanings" in Beatles songs....very well done.

     




     

    How do you know what any song is really about? How do you know Lennon is not poking fun at you? We have to be careful when interpreting any work of art not to confuse the art with the artist. It is often difficult to pin down the "real" meaning of a song. There can be as many meanings as there are listeners. That is the nature of songs and their meanings that Lennon was well aware of. He saw the absurdity of fans analyzing everything about The Beatles and their songs looking for profound hidden meanings. A song is just a song, sometimes expressing feelings or sometimes just a bunch of words and music with no deep significance other than fun and entertainment. If you want deep philosophy, read the works of a philosopher.  A song can't be expected to convey all that much.



    Well. I read alot.

    This is how I found out who "Sexy Sadie" was....and who "Julia" was.

    I remember that I once read where Lennon was writing about himself when he wrote "Nowhere Man" ....I can't ever be 100% sure , however, so I will give you that.

    I feel pretty certain that Lennon was never "poking fun at me" because , first of all, he didn't know me, second I was 5-12 years old when the Beatles were recording and barely aware of them ( except when the Radio was on or when they appeared on Ed Sullivan) , I was more into Batman, Captain America and Heckyl and Jeckyl ( marvelous cartoon) in the 60's....I really was too young to fully appreciate Lennon's genius until I was around 15 or 16 yers old. My exposure to 60's music was never forgotten, but it wasn't until the 70's were almost over that became much more familiar with Beatles, Stones, Doors , Jefferson Airplane and other major groups of the 60's ( and later the less "major" groups). Heck, I think the the first time I even heard about Woodstock was 1973 or later. 

    I was too busy being a little kid in the 60's to care about alot of things. 

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from Hfxsoxnut. Show Hfxsoxnut's posts

    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:

    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:

    I don't know, the lyrics to 'Nowhere Man' are pretty explicit.  'Doesn't have a point of view, knows not where he's going to, isn't he a bit like you and me.'  You don't really have to read between the lines on this one.



    And yet, I recall from the Imagine film John talking to a vagrant at his country home saying "it's literally a nonsense song", and I believe that's the song he was talking about.

    I might also argue the lyrics are rather unexplicit with no names, symbols, events or situations...and if intentionally non-specific, it becomes a song "about nothing".



    I guess it's all about viewpoint.  I can recall that when I first heard the song, when I was only about 10 years old, I thought I understand exactly what it meant.  To put it one way, I thought he was talking about 'all the lost (as in confused or aimless) people' just as Eleanor Rigby would be about 'all the lonely people'.

    At the time I didn't think it was about Lennon himself but about a particular type of person he was seeing a lot of. 

    It shouldn't be overlooked, of course, that there is a hopeful note in 'Nowhere Man' as well.

    So to me, relatively speaking, the meaning of the song was pretty clear.  Not wrapped up in metaphors or obliqueness.

    But I guess it shows we're all free to make up our own meanings.   

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from devildavid. Show devildavid's posts

    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to ZILLAGOD's comment:



    Well. I read alot.

     

    This is how I found out who "Sexy Sadie" was....and who "Julia" was.

    I remember that I once read where Lennon was writing about himself when he wrote "Nowhere Man" ....I can't ever be 100% sure , however, so I will give you that.

    I feel pretty certain that Lennon was never "poking fun at me" because , first of all, he didn't know me, second I was 5-12 years old when the Beatles were recording and barely aware of them ( except when the Radio was on or when they appeared on Ed Sullivan) , I was more into Batman, Captain America and Heckyl and Jeckyl ( marvelous cartoon) in the 60's....I really was too young to fully appreciate Lennon's genius until I was around 15 or 16 yers old. My exposure to 60's music was never forgotten, but it wasn't until the 70's were almost over that became much more familiar with Beatles, Stones, Doors , Jefferson Airplane and other major groups of the 60's ( and later the less "major" groups). Heck, I think the the first time I even heard about Woodstock was 1973 or later. 

    I was too busy being a little kid in the 60's to care about alot of things. 



    But what about those listeners  who don't read a lot? What if the songs mean something entirely different to them? Are they wrong?

    It doesn't matter if we were too young to appreciate The Beatles when they first recorded. Their songs can have meaning to those who weren't even born when they recorded. If Lennon was poking fun at Beatles fans looking for hidden meanings, he is poking fun at all Beatles fans, not just those who were listening at the time those songs were released. If "I Am the Walrius" was only poking fun at select fans from a select time period what does it mean to fans today?

    Even if "Nowhere Man" was Lennon writing about himself, it deals in vague generalities that could apply to anyone. There is nothing specific or biographical in the lyrics.

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to devildavid's comment:



    Let me pull Neil Young into this. "Sugar Mountain" seems like it is autobiographical, and it probably is. But is the song just about Neil Young? Or is it Neil Young using his personal experience to express feelings we can all relate to about longing for the more innocent pleasures of youth, the regret we may feel about the passage into adulthood. When a listener hears a song, it can be completely divorced from the singer. We really shouldn't need to know anything about the singer's personal life. The song should stand on its own.


    You know, I agree with the concept of a song standing on its own to a certain extent.   There are times, however, the meaning can be enhanced with knowledge of the singer / songwriter, but is it absolutely necessary.   No. 

    I can't remember the song in question, but when  I read an online discussion of a Nirvana song, I specifically remember one person said that he thought the lyrics were autobiographical, and it really helped him with some (youth-oriented) struggles; he said that if Cobain, who was famous, rich, and handsome had similar feelings of despair, it helped to neutralize his feelings and he didn't feel so alone.  He felt more normal, for lack of a better word.    Another commenter told him, no, the song was not autobiographical, it was "just a song" -- but the other poster didn't care.   His response was, "how do you really know?"  Anyhow, it was poignant to see that the song had helped this kid based on the way he interpreted it. 

    Frankly, the last bunch of posts could have been woven into another thread about the issues related to lyrics.   Too late to bother, I guess.  

     

     

     

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from ZILLAGOD. Show ZILLAGOD's posts

    Re: Essential Neil Young

    My best answer....and I could answer the question in many ways.....

    The question: Does a song have only one meaning, the meaning intended by the songwriter?

    ...my answer is: you have a writer, he has thoughts and experiences. He is going to draw heavily on his own experiences....but what if the song is a fantasy?....they still draw on the songwriter's experience, only (possibly) exaggerated. Some are just wild fantasy, some are completely true stories.....do we care?

    So far I have answered a question with another question.

    We all have an imagination. You can visualize a song or a book or a painting any way you wish. None of these would ever be wrong. 

    I made the mistake of seeing 'The Pelican Brief' by John Grisham in the movies before reading the book. I like Denzel Washington a whole lot, but when I finally read the book I kept picturing the main character as Denzel, when in the book, no mention is made of him being African American...in fact it appears that Grisham did not indicate what color he was, but it doesn't appear that he was intended to be non-white. You may think this is a minor point ( and it is to some degree....but I only pictured the main character as Black, because some movie makers cast a Black actor in the title role) I could also say that the opposite is sometimes true. Before I ever saw Freddie Lynn play baseball, I somehow pictured him as Black.....my brother-in-law said the same thing to me....years ago.

    The beauty of art, is we can look at ( or hear ) something and perceive it in a totally different way. 

    Many songs by Neil Young can be taken differently by different people, he uses words so well, it just keeps you thinking. An example is 'Star Of Bethlehem' , which is not Neil Young's Christmas song ( he's never done one)....it is a song about hope and disappointment all in less than 100 words....simple, yet complex all at the same time, as is 'The Loner','Danger Bird', 'I Am A Child' and 'Roll Another Number.'

     

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from devildavid. Show devildavid's posts

    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to yogafriend's comment:


    You know, I agree with the concept of a song standing on its own to a certain extent.   There are times, however, the meaning can be enhanced with knowledge of the singer / songwriter, but is it absolutely necessary.   No. 

    I can't remember the song in question, but when  I read an online discussion of a Nirvana song, I specifically remember one person said that he thought the lyrics were autobiographical, and it really helped him with some (youth-oriented) struggles; he said that if Cobain, who was famous, rich, and handsome had similar feelings of despair, it helped to neutralize his feelings and he didn't feel so alone.  He felt more normal, for lack of a better word.    Another commenter told him, no, the song was not autobiographical, it was "just a song" -- but the other poster didn't care.   His response was, "how do you really know?"  Anyhow, it was poignant to see that the song had helped this kid based on the way he interpreted it. 

    Frankly, the last bunch of posts could have been woven into another thread about the issues related to lyrics.   Too late to bother, I guess.  



    People can and will see whatever they want in a song. I have no problem with that. If a song helps someone through a tough time, that is good.

    I have a tendency to want to debate when a statement is made that sounds definitive about something that I happen to think is debatable. And even interpretation has its logical limits. There is the evidence of the lyrics and you can only read so much into words. This is a hangover from my English major days, when, like John Lennon, I started thinking that people sometimes read too much into words looking for "hidden" meaning. Sometimes songs are misinterpreted. For example, "Every Breath You Take" is played at many weddings, but supposedly is a creepy song about obsession.

    Or back to Neil Young's "The Loner". On Wikipedia it suggests the song could be about Stephen Stills or could be autobiographical. My feeling is that when we get too hung up on looking for clues relating a song to the artist's real life, we get off track on really letting the song exist on its own as an artisitc creation.

    I guess my philosophy about all this can be summed up by James Joyce in  'Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man'. In it, he writes, "The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails."

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to devildavid's comment:

    I guess my philosophy about all this can be summed up by James Joyce in  'Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man'. In it, he writes, "The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails."



    That is a brilliant quote from a brilliant man.  Nonetheless, I can argue with it.  What he says applies to a certain breed of artist, but not the total population.  Some artists put themselves passionately and transparently in their work.  And some are itching to explain to everybody what their work is all about.  

    The world of art is large enough to hold many types of work and many types of creator.

     

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    Well, I've given the Neil Young thing some thought, and I've decided that my only real issue with him is his sound.  I guess it's just a little too folk or country for my taste.  Also maybe it's that I find a lot of his material too mournful or melancholy.  The stuff of this that I really like, not surprisingly I guess, is the high-energy rock stuff.

    One of his songs that I love is 'Downtown' from the Mirrorball album.  That is the kind of Neil Young sound that really works for me. 

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from devildavid. Show devildavid's posts

    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:

    In response to devildavid's comment:

    I guess my philosophy about all this can be summed up by James Joyce in  'Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man'. In it, he writes, "The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails."



    That is a brilliant quote from a brilliant man.  Nonetheless, I can argue with it.  What he says applies to a certain breed of artist, but not the total population.  Some artists put themselves passionately and transparently in their work.  And some are itching to explain to everybody what their work is all about.  

    The world of art is large enough to hold many types of work and many types of creator.

     



    I think that Joyce put himself in his work. An artist can't help but do that. My point is this. The art needs to stand on its own, completely divorced from the artist. Every artist puts their emotions, beliefs, and feelings into their art. But looking at the personal life of an artist is a tricky thing. It can mislead as much as it enlightens us about their creation. For someone to appreciate the creation on its own terms, they need to look only at the creation itself and not read things into it based on what they think they know about the artist.

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to devildavid's comment:

    I think that Joyce put himself in his work. An artist can't help but do that. My point is this. The art needs to stand on its own, completely divorced from the artist. Every artist puts their emotions, beliefs, and feelings into their art. But looking at the personal life of an artist is a tricky thing. It can mislead as much as it enlightens us about their creation. For someone to appreciate the creation on its own terms, they need to look only at the creation itself and not read things into it based on what they think they know about the artist.



    Well put.  And in most cases the artist follows that principle of not explicating their own work.  They probably shouldn't ever do it.  

     

     
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  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from Hfxsoxnut. Show Hfxsoxnut's posts

    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to DeadAhead2's comment:

    Black Sabbath is not a song. Jesus. 

    Please do not post silly comments here. Between the Taylor Swift thing and this, why bother?

    You mock humans on a sports team from behind a keyboard and then try to fit in here with awkward contributions that don't make sense.

    Just go away.



    C'mon man, this isn't the Patriots forum.  You and tcal are both welcome to post about music here.  And Black Sabbath is a song - first album, first song. 

     
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  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from ZILLAGOD. Show ZILLAGOD's posts

    Re: Essential Neil Young

    DeadAhead, TCal has posted here before. Not real frequently, but enough so that we all should know him.

    Maybe you are letting comments from a sports forum carry over into this one.

    There was nothing troll like or silly about the comment TCal made. It appears you two have had arguments that left a scar. That's a shame, I have learned to ignore people when they p*ss me off.....and I've been posting on BDC forums long enough for it to have happened often.

    I did recently respond to a poster on the Political forums who indicated that I was "ignorant." Not that I care what this person thinks, but I felt an insult like that deserved a response. I left it at that and went on with my life.

    Perhaps TCal has insulted you at some point. We don't know if that is true or not. But, please try not to destroy a good thread with some kind of payback. 

    I've learned to just ignore posters who tick me off. 

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    If anyone's interested,here's a link to a Neil Young speech from the Grammy Honors ceremony.It's pretty long but a good read.I would have posted it but there were a few words that wouldn't get by the censors here.

     http://music.yahoo.com/news/read-neil-young-39-full-epic-speech-grammy-140523612-rolling-stone.html

     
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