Just Singing A Song Won’t Change The World

I’ve been meaning to get Neil Young’s new album “Fork in the Road” for sometime now, but there was one large problem preventing me from doing so…my almost negative bank account.

“Download it for free!” you say. No thanks. I don’t like stealing music, especially from artists I love. If you ran a clothing store, and it was your livelihood, would you just let someone walk out with free t-shirts? I don’t think so. So don’t steal music. The end.

(Okay, now back to my point…)

Neil Young. I love him. However, I was skeptical about this album because when it was being promoted a lot of emphasis was put on how it was inspired by Young’s new flair for building eco-friendly cars. Hmm…what? Now, really, I am all for saving the earth but I wasn’t sure how I would feel about an entire album about building a car that runs off corn and dreams…and, uh, stuff.

I now realize that I was wrong to have thought that when all the papers and magazines were saying “inspired” they didn’t mean that the songs were actually about cars, they meant that Neil’s new love of saving the planet acted as a sort of metaphor for a call to action. This metaphor continues throughout the entire album, too. It came out roughly a week after President Obama announced his stimulus plan and the album acts as a nice supplement to it. “Fork in the Road” uses car maintenance as a metaphor for how we should all, according to Neil, be living our lives/treating our planet. We have to care for it, fuel it, and take responsibility for it. These are all nicely outlined in the 10 song track listing:

1. When Worlds Collide
2. Fuel Line
3. Just Singing A Song
4. Johnny Magic
5. Cough Up The Bucks
6. Get Behind The Wheel
7. Off The Road
8. Hit The Road
9. Light A Candle
10. Fork In The Road

These songs are Neil’s cliff-notes on living life in this new, slightly desperate, day and age…and I agree with him. We need to get off our asses, stop complaining, and DO something. My generation is the most at fault for sitting on our butts and whining and quite frankly, I’m embarrassed by it. “Just singing a song won’t change the world,” but ACTIONS will.

Aside from Neil’s message which, while kind of over done at the moment is still important and well delivered, the music on this album is his best since “Cortez the Killer.”

If you haven’t picked up the album yet, you should. It’s perfect for summer when you want a nice beat and rhythm to accompany your day, as well as something that has a message of endless possibilities, like many summer days.

I may even have to abandon the Grateful Dead’s “American Beauty” as the soundtrack of my summer in favor of “Fork in the Road,” because it’s an album about taking action…and I am taking action this summer. I am getting paid to write. Writing is my job, and I am going to make sure that I do the best job I possibly can because this is the moment where I take my life in the direction that I want it to go.

It’s now or never, or as Neil says, “Get behind the wheel.”


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