OK, hands up, cards on the table….I’m a huge Neil Young fan and genuinely can’t think of a record he’s made that I don’t love, even the much maligned Trans really does it for me and I reckon Daft Punk et al may well have been taking a listen to that particular record…then again perhaps not.

The Monsanto Years is Young as I like him best – electrified, rocking, belligerent and rallying against all that he sees wrong in the world.

This is, unsurprisingly, a full on assault if big-agri, a call for us as consumers to take a stand against GMO and to take back control of what we eat. It’s not just Monsanto that get a kicking; Starbucks, corrupt politicians (are there any other kind) Chevron and others also get it in the balls. Young rallies against the apathetic “roll over and accept it” culture that seems so engrained in today’s society on the track  “People Want To Hear About Love”

Of course Young is privileged, rich and lives the rarefied life of an international rock star and so it would be easy to dismiss his rants as little more than the vitriol of the pampered, but wasn’t music always supposed to be about rallying against “the man”? I say good on Young for getting the issues as he sees them out there!

Musically The Monsanto Years is never going to go down as a classic Young album, but that’s not to say that is doesn’t have musical merit; Young and Promise Of The Real are in full-on grunge mode for the majority of the record. There’s the over-driven, classic Young solos and that country feel that is his trademark and this will be familiar fare to fans. Newcomers to Neil Young would probably be best looking elsewhere, but then this record isn’t about pleasing people – it’s about protest, real rock and roll and Young being able to make a record that doesn’t have to sell millions.

Personally I agree with a lot of what Young has to say on Monsanto and it is good to see someone with some clout getting up and saying these things.

You get a DVD with this record to…but then I never watch these!

Stuart Smith

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