Watch: Two Beautiful New Neil Young Videos

You’ve got to hand it to Neil Young, 38 studio albums into a career and he’s still not mailing it in. That’s not to say that he hasn’t had made some duds in those 38, jeez, it seems like every time he gets angry about some issue he makes an album about it. But working and releasing an album quickly has never meant that he was simply going through the motions. This is an artist who has always cared deeply about what he was doing and saying, to a fault.

On his 38th album released in December, Peace Trail, Young experimented in some new sonic textures and approaches, and I thought it succeeded pretty nicely. Most reviewers called it an acoustic album, but he weaves his trademark electric guitar sound in and out of the material like an old friend coming home. There’s a clean, contemporary sound to the record, and he even makes some interesting use, if you can believe it, of Auto-Tune, which kind of sounds like the punchline to a joke.

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Check out the video for “My Pledge”. I’ve never heard Neil layer vocals like that, at some points his spoken word delivery sounds like country rap. It is an amazing story lyric and an absolutely captivating video. Young obviously has a lot of input into the visuals, and he’s not about to settle for mediocrity on that score either. The video for “Peace Trail” was just released this week, and it is another really good song, but the video technique is absolutely stunning.

The video’s directors told NPR that their old-fashioned paint-on-glass technique was perfect for Young’s “rich, organic sound”, and that when “combined with the painterly compositions of sweeping American landscapes, (it) is narratively served up as a love letter to the older generation.” Well I hope I can speak out of turn for the older generation and say right back at ya, man.

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