The upside of Neil Young

In the midst of my second thoughts about last night’s frolic and detour to Neil Young’s new recording comes this message from reader Harold Oster:

I read your post about Neil Young and was intrigued and very much impressed. For the past 25 years or more, Neil Young and Paul Simon have been my music heroes, for lack of a better word. Ninety percent of what I listen to has been their music. They are both liberal and I am definitely not. Now I have not listened to either of their new albums. I read the lyrics to the Neil song “impeach the president” and have listened to and read the lyrics to three new Paul Simon songs newly posted on Simon’s site. I may eat my words after getting the Paul Simon album, but listen to Paul’s song “Wartime Prayers.” That is how a principled, well-meaning liberal can write a beautiful song about a war.

Why did I love what you did regarding the Neil album? You have let the Neil album stand by and for itself. I believe this is the end of Neil Young as a music force in this country, far more so than the Dixie Chicks. He has misread his base. I do not need you to tell me that he is a moonbat with Bush Derangement Syndrome. I need you to tell me about the intricacies of gasoline prices, FISA laws, Rather memos and the like. But anybody with common sense can read the lyrics and listen to a piece of crap (to quote one of my favorite Neil songs) and recognize it as a piece of crap. You are doing what Hugh Hewitt does best. Just let the liberals speak for themselves and they prove the opposite point, a la Michael Moore. Bravo.

I doubt that Young has misread his base, but I am grateful to Mr. Oster for his kind words and for pointing me to Paul Simon’s site. Simon does in fact present a remarkable contrast to Young. At his site Simon has made four excellent songs from his new recording available. They are all excellent, and at least one is special. If you’re a father of a daughter or a daughter of a father, give a listen to Simon’s breathtaking “Father and Daughter” from his forthcoming (May 9) “Surprise.”

Paul Simon is a songwriter in the great tradition of the American songbook. He remains a creative voice and a healing spirit. I reflected on his partnership and 2003 reunion tour with Art Garfunkel in “The deep meaning of Simon and Garfunkel.”

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