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Nutball: Neil Young

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Nutball: Neil Young

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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby NewDarkAge on Wed Dec 11, 2019 6:55 pm

Tommy wrote:
Ike wrote:Man, Stupid Girl sucks so bad. Not Man Needs a Maid bad, but not good.

Hippies and misogyny! Go together like a piss and a fart!


A Man Needs a Maid is absolutely misogynistic. But is Stupid Girl? I mean it sounds like he's railing against either a type or a specific woman. I'm not hearing contempt for women in that one. Though maybe that's enough anyway...


I file ‘Stupid Girl’ with good songs that reflect badly on their narrator. We maybe recognise ourselves in those characters insofar as, in moments of weakness, however brief and however immediately shameful, we — as the inheritors and beneficiaries of a misogynistic world — have had these thoughts and phrases cross our minds. Having been around the worst of male-kind I sometimes find excursions into that point of view interesting, and it’s not a place I would want left unexplored or left only to its adherents (I guess this basically the rationale behind Big Black, too), but I fully appreciate not having time for it. It’s the same dynamic as a lot of Elvis Costello songs (which I also like a lot), but I guess since NY is much less arch and academic than Costello there’s maybe more of a concern about outright, unmediated misogyny, since the construct I’m describing is perhaps way too ramified and overcooked for Shakey. And if I saw some bonehead aggressively singing along to ‘Stupid Girl’ with his fist in the air, maybe I wouldn’t want to listen to it anymore.

I also like this weird verse that nobody else would write:

I saw you in Mercedes-Benz
Practising self-defence
You’re getting pretty good I guess
I couldn’t see your eyes

That last line is fully a Neil Young turn.
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby Angus Jung on Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:05 pm

Just fyi, there's another thread with discussion of A Man Needs A Maid.
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby tmidgett on Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:08 pm

Has been discussed here before, but I don't think A Man Needs a Maid is misogynistic at all. Never understood that take.

It's pretty clearly about heartbreak and helplessness and the protagonist's own shortcomings and difficulties in just getting through life.

And by extension the helplessness and weakness of men, I think, if you're going to generalize.

One of the most unvarnished sentiments he's ever put into anything, which is why it has all the strings and shit on it, I think--to cloak it a bit.

Great song. Great production. Great vocal. Brave track. Many great stripped-down versions though.

The Garbage song "Stupid Girl" is way worse than Neil's. Just because it's bad.

Neil's is a goof but it sounds amazing, and you get away with a lot in rock and roll when that is the case.

NewDarkAge wrote:I file ‘Stupid Girl’ with good songs that reflect badly on their narrator.


Yes. Though maybe it's about an actual girl who was really stupid, in which case it's just accurate.

Tut-tut adjudication, eh. Gonna write off a lot of music that way.

Artists don't have a responsibility to avoid making people uncomfortable. Kind of the opposite. They need to be fearless if they have any shot at being great.
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby VaticanShotglass on Thu Dec 12, 2019 1:58 am

Listen gang, it's the woman in you that makes you want to play this game. But here we are.

NewDarkAge wrote:It’s the same dynamic as a lot of Elvis Costello songs (which I also like a lot), but I guess since NY is much less arch and academic than Costello there’s maybe more of a concern about outright, unmediated misogyny, since the construct I’m describing is perhaps way too ramified and overcooked for Shakey.


I'll admit to not giving NY enough credit in that he might have a more layered authorial voice.

Stupid Girl gets a lot more mileage for me for exactly this reason:
tmidgett wrote:Neil's is a goof but it sounds amazing, and you get away with a lot in rock and roll when that is the case.


Again, I don't even listen to the lyrics until the tenth listen or so. That said, this is a nice point:

NewDarkAge wrote:I saw you in Mercedes-Benz
Practising self-defence
You’re getting pretty good I guess
I couldn’t see your eyes

That last line is fully a Neil Young turn.


tmidgett wrote:It's pretty clearly about heartbreak and helplessness and the protagonist's own shortcomings and difficulties in just getting through life.

And by extension the helplessness and weakness of men, I think, if you're going to generalize.

One of the most unvarnished sentiments he's ever put into anything, which is why it has all the strings and shit on it, I think--to cloak it a bit.

Great song. Great production. Great vocal. Brave track. Many great stripped-down versions though.


That is the best charitable reading of the song. The Massey Hall version makes me want to believe it. The album version is just too corny(?) sounding. I get the helpless aspect of this reading. I really get this part,

"It's hard to make that change
When life and love turns strange
And old"

Hell, put that on my tombstone, but when when his reaction is to get a maid. I mean I get it, but there's just something a little beyond me to hang onto it all at that point. I don't like going out alone, hell, a man needs a chauffeur. I'm so depressed I can't run errands, shit a man needs a P.A. You know, to pick up my mail and prescriptions and then just go away. I don't relate to the landmarks of the L.A. area either, so maybe I'm being hypocritical.

That doesn't even touch the alleged misogyny. That he is heartbroken over a lost romance and the fact that the maid-work of cleaning and preparing meals are things that are traditionally domestic burdens that women, moms, wives, sisters face in the family in a disproportionate way to men, dads, husbands, sons, brothers adds a sting to the whole maudlin affair. That's a tediously surface reading, but geez, this track just doesn't motivate me to do better. I guess that's the bummer.

That verse might float better if the maid thing wasn't the center post of the song. But it is. It's nutty, it's Neil. I crack on the guy with love in my heart. What a wild corpus.

BTW there is a very surreal reference to AMNAM in an episode of Adventure Time. The words are apart of magic ritual and they sorta confuse the characters. Very strange. Skip track.

tmidgett wrote:Artists don't have a responsibility to avoid making people uncomfortable. Kind of the opposite. They need to be fearless if they have any shot at being great.


I totally agree. We can still argue about when a particular work "works" or not. I mean wtf is Iggy on about in China Girl? Sure as shit sings the hell out of it though. No Skip.
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby Ike on Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:16 am

tmidgett wrote:]

Yes. Though maybe it's about an actual girl who was really stupid, in which case it's just accurate.

Tut-tut adjudication, eh. Gonna write off a lot of music that way.

Artists don't have a responsibility to avoid making people uncomfortable. Kind of the opposite. They need to be fearless if they have any shot at being great.



Something being banal is justification enough for me to not enjoy it. Not finger wagging in any meaningful way on my part (this is a vacuum, after all, this very format for discussion), but certainly not shying away from calling it where I see it.

Those two songs, while musically great (well, the treacle of 'maid' doesn't do it for me, but I can see how it could work for some), don't hold up next to the entire universes contained in the songs immediately before and after them on their respective albums.

Way, way into people exploring any dark corner they feel free to explore, and certainly not advocating the opposite in this case.
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby tmidgett on Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:30 pm

VaticanShotglass wrote:Listen gang, it's the woman in you that makes you want to play this game.


ha!

"It's hard to make that change
When life and love turns strange
And old"


AND OLD

Jesus Christ.

When life and love TURN OLD. Yikes.

It's just a real bald song. It's funny to me that it is the one song on Harvest with all that extra stuff on it, b/c it is the most naked thing on it, emotionally.

this track just doesn't motivate me to do better. I guess that's the bummer.


That's interesting. I think a lot of people would agree with you. Like people don't necessarily like movies where all the characters are bad people.

I don't care. I just want a window into something. Which you certainly get with A Man Needs a Maid.

There's also a not-so-implicit acknowledgment in the tune that women carry most of the water in an average (or even above-average) domestic situation. And that was even more true in the early 70s obviously. I would give Neil enough credit for knowing that on some level--and not censoring or adjusting the narrative to make himself look better.

We can still argue about when a particular work "works" or not. I mean wtf is Iggy on about in China Girl? Sure as shit sings the hell out of it though. No Skip.


Ike wrote:Something being banal is justification enough for me to not enjoy it. Not finger wagging in any meaningful way on my part (this is a vacuum, after all, this very format for discussion), but certainly not shying away from calling it where I see it.


Yeah yeah. I was a little harsh with the tut-tut bit. I just find it irritating, that exact line of criticism, like Neil Young wasn't woke enough in 1972. OK. Whatever. There's no alternate universe. People can be shitty in various ways.

But you're right--you're far from the only people who don't like A Man Needs a Maid. His most polarizing track, because, I would say, unlike Stupid Girl, it's fully realized and completely successful in doing what it sets out to do. It's the Steely Dan or Eagles of Neil Young songs.

China Girl is a good example. Good song, both versions.

But yeah when that pops out, I would think you'd be like...eh...shit. OK, well, we have to honor our creative impulses...influenced by very heavy hard drug use as they may be...so we gotta roll with that.

"well I guess we wrote Brown Sugar and Midnight Rambler. That's life." "I guess we wrote Squealer and Night Prowler." "I guess we wrote Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell." "I guess we wrote Bodies." Etc.
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby mattw on Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:27 pm

I just came to say that indeed I do have Roxy- Tonight's the Night and Tuscaloosa on the vinyls, which then prompted me to get Tonight's The Night on the vinyls record disc. I never thought too much before about "New Mama," but that song stuck out to me as really nice upon revisiting. "Borrowed Tune" is such a lovely song, and then it leads into "Come On Baby, Let's Go Downtown," which led me down the rabbit hole of checking out Danny Whitten's contributions. Like, for instance, I never paid attention to the fact that there was a just-Crazy Horse album done before he died. The "Downtown" on that is much druggier and slowed-down. Great voice and musician.
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby night_tools on Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:35 pm

tmidgett wrote:
NewDarkAge wrote:I file ‘Stupid Girl’ with good songs that reflect badly on their narrator.


Yes. Though maybe it's about an actual girl who was really stupid, in which case it's just accurate.



That was Zappa's justification for a lot of his questionable lyrics as well. To be fair NY's songs have aged better than FZ's, for the most part.

(sorry for bringing up FZ in the NY thread)
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby tmidgett on Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:36 pm

night_tools wrote:
tmidgett wrote:
NewDarkAge wrote:I file ‘Stupid Girl’ with good songs that reflect badly on their narrator.


Yes. Though maybe it's about an actual girl who was really stupid, in which case it's just accurate.



That was Zappa's justification for a lot of his questionable lyrics as well. To be fair NY's songs have aged better than FZ's, for the most part.

(sorry for bringing up FZ in the NY thread)


Zappa's worldview was so cramped and uninteresting to me that shit like Catholic Girls or whatever bummed me out real hard even when I was a relatively unenlightened youth.

It really is about getting over. If you are gonna do stuff like that and not get over musically and lyrically, it's marginally worse than just being bad with unoffensive subject matter.

Anyway, well-trod territory on this site, so yeah.

mattw wrote:I never paid attention to the fact that there was a just-Crazy Horse album done before he died. The "Downtown" on that is much druggier and slowed-down. Great voice and musician.


That first Crazy Horse record is excellent. This track, about going limp during sex, is an all-timer.

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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby mattw on Thu Dec 12, 2019 4:31 pm

tmidgett wrote:
That first Crazy Horse record is excellent. This track, about going limp during sex, is an all-timer.



Oh shit! There's another song on there ("Dance Dance Dance") that NY recycled for "Love Is A Rose"
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby PEPPER! on Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:15 pm

VaticanShotglass wrote:BTW there is a very surreal reference to AMNAM in an episode of Adventure Time. The words are apart of magic ritual and they sorta confuse the characters.

after seeing that I began to wonder if the song was intended as part of the hippie space opera he was cooking up with Dean Stockwell and others for a few years in the '70s. I've never seen anything that remotely suggests that it was, but to me it's a great song in that context. it's not as good as the sentiment of a 22-year-old guy throwing up his hands because he's done with wimmin'
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby DregsInTheCrowd on Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:25 pm

tmidgett wrote:That first Crazy Horse record is excellent. This track, about going limp during sex, is an all-timer.



HA! I was just listening to it early this morning. "Gone Dead Train," particularly the ending coda, rocks so goddamn hard. Sadly, I feel it's the only great Crazy Horse record without Neil's name on it. I had been trying to figure out why this album works so well while Crazy Moon falls so flat, even with Neil Young himself playing guitar. And I think Danny Whitten is the answer (and maybe Nils Lofgren to some extent). Whitten was, and remains, underrated as a writer and interpreter, and he left a big mark on that band (as though inspiring Tonight's The Night and others wasn't proof enough).
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby VaticanShotglass on Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:27 pm

tmidgett, well said. I still think your interpretation of the song is the best charitable read. It got me to look it all up a bit last night when I couldn't sleep. Connecting the song to the plot of Diary of a Mad Housewife also makes it read much better, and much smarter. I guess part of the conflict is that there are competing impulses to tread Neil as a genius on one and and a real dum dum on the other. In rock music, both poles can be sublime. There's a stupidity to the brilliance of The Stooges, Sabbath, The Ramones, etc. I think it is true of NY also. That said I don't read Revolution blues to be a pro Manson song.

If this were in person this is where we buy another round of whatever aging dudes drink when they are out these days.
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby m3kcomp on Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:51 pm

tmidgett wrote:That first Crazy Horse record is excellent. This track, about going limp during sex, is an all-timer.



I've been listening to this record for almost 30 years and I had no clue that's what the song was about. I wish I still didn't! Too funny, man.

I try to avoid knowing the "meaning" of songs in general...thinking about the fellas and their erectile problems during the chorus of this song is inevitable now, heh.
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby VaticanShotglass on Thu Dec 12, 2019 10:47 pm

mattw wrote:
tmidgett wrote:Oh shit! There's another song on there ("Dance Dance Dance") that NY recycled for "Love Is A Rose"


We played that song during my wedding.
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby travelin_pete on Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:58 am

When I saw ol Neil at Carnegie Hall, I guess back in early '13, he did Maid with this short, crazy snyth intro that was just wild. He's a great pic of him from that run.

Image

I was never a big Maid fan, but seeing him do that was just mindbending.

Interesting side note, I was a few rows behind Trump and Charlie Rose that night. Go figure.

Edit, oh shit I found a clip.

https://youtu.be/YiKw5tG6nps?t=1699
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby VaticanShotglass on Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:54 pm

So Neil is the only rock star I'd love to see live while that is possible, but each tour has just been bad timing ($$$$). I don't think I'd pay rock star money to see anyone else.
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby Ike on Mon Dec 16, 2019 11:33 am

Didn't see this posted earlier, but could have missed it. Apologies if so.

This is fucking OUTSTANDING. I remember watching it the night it streamed.

Fuckin' SICK SHIT HERE.

37 minutes of just them being the horse.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCfnEKlXPsQ
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby DregsInTheCrowd on Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:41 pm

Ike wrote:Didn't see this posted earlier, but could have missed it. Apologies if so.

This is fucking OUTSTANDING. I remember watching it the night it streamed.

Fuckin' SICK SHIT HERE.

37 minutes of just them being the horse.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCfnEKlXPsQ


I ripped and saved this to a hard drive when it came out. At our practice space, we have a video projector and a big sheet on the wall, and every so often, when I'm tinkering around there and feeling uninspired, I'll put Horseback on the projector, take a few hits, and get my groove back.
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Re: Nutball: Neil Young

Postby Antero on Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:57 pm

tmidgett wrote:Has been discussed here before, but I don't think A Man Needs a Maid is misogynistic at all. Never understood that take.

It's pretty clearly about heartbreak and helplessness and the protagonist's own shortcomings and difficulties in just getting through life.

And by extension the helplessness and weakness of men, I think, if you're going to generalize.

Agreed, I don't think there's anything anti-woman about it. It's entirely about the narrator/men being weak, isolated, and incapable.
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