LIVING WITH WAR - Initial Impressions
Here's the scoop:
"After The Garden" - This one is a cool start. The guitar is fairly "Slip Away" (from 1996's Broken Arrow) in nature. I like the "Garden" concept, as in Garden of Eden...Iraq...biblical kind of thing. What will we do after the garden is gone?
"Living With War" - The guitar is heavy and distorted, but fairly slow. "I'm livin' with war in my heart every day." "When the night falls, I pray for peace. Try to remember peace." Good sentiment. He does a little twist, inserting some lyrics from "The Star Spangled Banner". I think it's effective. The trumpet takes a nice solo. It's cool. It might've been nice if Neil took it as a guitar solo. But, I suppose the whole trumpet/bugle analogy works.
"The Restless Consumer" - Now, things kick in for real. Neil's guitar intro is cool. This Cromwell guy can pound the freakin' skins, man. Drums are in your face! Neil is pissed here. "Don't need no Madison Ave. whore"..."Don't need no more lies". Neil raps, in essence. This tune will get HEAVY play by the Haahnster.
"Shock And Awe" - Neil's guitar is somewhere between Ragged Glory and Mirrorball. "Back in the days of Mission Accomplished/Our chief was landing on the deck/The sun was setting on the golden photo-op/Back in the days of Mission Accomplished". The trumpet solo is cool. Again, I wouldn't have minded a guitar solo in its place. The chorus sounds decent here. The drums are absolutely thunderous.
"Families" - This one is short and sweet (2:25). It almost seemed like a throwaway the first time through. It's starting to grow on me, though. The guitar is chunky. The chorus is used effectively. Of course, war affects families. It makes sense. I'd like to see him blow this one up to about 15 minutes with a HUGE guitar solo when he plays it live.
"Flags Of Freedom" (Think: "Chimes Of Freedom" by Bob Dylan. I mean that in a good way, of course.) He refers to Dylan by name. I like the "flat-screen TV" reference. Oh, yeah, and flags. "Do you think you believe in yours/More than they do theirs, somehow?" Good fucking question.
"Let's Impeach The President" - You have to hear it to believe it. It's unique, to be sure. He calls "W" on almost everything imaginable: misleading us into war, illegally wire-tapping in the U.S., running up record budget deficits, etc. He even uses the baseball/steroid scandal against him. (The way Neil says the word "steroids" is absolutely classic Neil.) He uses Bush soundbites against him. There's almost no chance this song can age gracefully. But, I'll certainly enjoy it while it lasts!!!
"Looking For A Leader" is the beginning of the healing process. I.e., let's say we 've impeached Bush, now what? Neil calls on Obama, or maybe Colin Powell ("to right what he's done wrong").
"Roger And Out" is another one that didn't grab me the 1st time by. Now, it's among my favorites. Neil's guitar is ragged, but slow. When the chorus goes into the "oohs", I SWEAR that Axel Rose is going to burst into the GnR cover version of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door". It's sweet...stolen melody for sure, but sweet nonetheless.
"America The Beautiful" - This is an effective finish the 1st time through. I doubt I'll listen to it too often, though. I'm not a big, a cappella chorus kind of guy.
Bottom line: I think it works well at LOUD VOLUME (and what other way would you want it?), and I think it's going to resonate with a lot of people. I'm sure it will alienate a few, especially the Fox News watchers. Fuck 'em. PLAY IT LOUD!!!!!!!!!