Neil Young Sees Red on Green Anthem “Who’s Gonna Stand Up”

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 09.10.14 in News

When Neil Young released Living With War, his 2006 album with a song titled “Let’s Impeach the President,” the spontaneity and bellicosity of the lyrics brought to mind the era’s blog posts. But like, say, one-time presidential candidate Bob Graham, who was mocked for his meticulous diaries, Young simply got to the idea of constant self-documentation before technology made it popular for the rest of us. From “Ohio” and “Southern Man” to his pro-Reagan period and the regrettable post-9/11 “Let’s Roll,” Young has never shied away from politics in his music, and the results are as mixed musically as they have been politically.

“Who’s Gonna Stand Up,” a call to protect the environment, arrives in a hashtag age (#whosgonnastandup has a nice ring to it). As the iconic, influential singer/songwriter speaks for the Earth — over ragged guitar and gospel singers, plus a smattering of horns — it’s as if he’s a rock’n’roll Lorax: “This all starts with you and me,” the backup vocalists roar. It’s simplistic, and self-evidently polemical (“And fossil fuel … and fracking”), but it’s endearingly Neil Young. They ended up cutting the Lorax sequence out of Seussical: The Musical, but that doesn’t mean his message can’t carry a tune.

Listen to the January 21 New York live performance here. Young also encouraged fans to watch the trailer for the documentary Under the Influen$e, below.

Icon: Neil Young