I grew up in a house where we referred to Neil Young on a first name basis. I learned about Crazy Horse while playing with My Little Ponies, and I subconsciously memorized the lyrics to all of his songs by age 10, including some I really shouldn’t have (I wish I was a trapper / I would give a thousand pelts / to sleep with Pocahontas / and find out how she felt.’ Neil was an inescapable fixture in our home, from our tape deck in the volvo station wagon to our family holiday soundtrack, when my dad would try to slide Rust Never Sleeps into the CD player in the place of Handel’s Messiah whenever my mom stepped into the garage to grab more ornaments.
Accordingly, I hated Neil Young with a fiery passion throughout the majority of my life.
In the past few years though, things have changed. I caught a couple of Neil’s Bridge School Benefit Concerts at Shoreline, and was impressed with his dedication to his family and the enormous respect he has garnered from his peers. When I go back to Oregon I no longer cringe when I am greeted with Rockin’ in the Free World (which also happens to be our home internet password), and these days I find the vanity license plate “Walk On” more amusing than annoying.
As my musical tastes have matured, Neil’s whiny voice sounds a little more palatable and his once gibberish laced lyrics now make at least a little sense. In the end, I have come to realize my dad showed me what it meant to love music before I knew how. Today’s untz may not be an actual Neil song, but this is as close as the TUATE is going to get.
Today’s Emo: Exile Vilify / The National
‘does it trouble your mind / the way you trouble mine?
I lost my shit during The National’s set on Sunday night, so imagine my delight in the release of a new track on Tuesday to help cure my ever aching Coachella withdrawal. While I wasn’t won over by the group’s release of Think You Can Wait last month, I instantly fell for this one… I am such a sucker for piano, and I can picture fingers rolling lazily but deftly across keys in this intro, leading me into the song.
Exile Vilify has all the elements that make The National my favorite band: a mini orchestra, flawless melodies, and Matt Berninger’s signature baritone, which is somehow both calming and haunting, chilling and comforting at the same time. The strings cut everything up and then smooth it together, and I am lost on repeat. #emo
Today’s Untz: Harvest Moon (Neil Young Cover) / Teen Daze
‘because I’m still in love with you / I want to see you dance again’
I will go so far as to admit I actually like a few Neil songs now, and with its simple, cut to the heart lyrics, and swaying on the dance floor rhythm, Harvest Moon is one of my favorites. Although my father may find it slightly sacrilegious, this Teen Daze cover has me smitten… with soft vocals and dreamy rolling beats, the original version is hardly traceable, but isn’t lost here. At this point in life, I must have heard this song a thousand times, but I’ve never heard it like this. #untz