Re: Essential Neil Young
posted at 1/26/2014 6:45 PM EST
In response to ZILLAGOD's comment:
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.'
Hi Zilla. I think and talk about this a lot. To me, "art" is about an artist trying to convey his/her feelings to others through their media. I despise and mock "conceptual art" i.e. smarter-than-thou BS. You wrote "The beauty of art, is we can look at (or hear) something and perceive it in a totally different way.
" I think there is a lot of merit in that....THAT'S ART, RIGHT! But, to me, while the interpretation of art is highly personal and somewhat subjective.....if someone views, say, Guernica, and thinks it's about bullfighting...they are totally wrong, absurdly so, and have missed the point entirely.