Over Neil Young’s long career, he’s had a lot of opportunities to channel frustration and rage over American politics into song. In 1970, Young wrote the miserably relevant “Ohio” with lyrics directly condemning Richard Nixon. In 1989 he called out George H.W. Bush with “Rockin’ In The Free World” before going on to spend the ‘00s releasing protest tracks and the album Living With War aimed at the younger President Bush.
The last four years have provided plenty of new material for Young, who’s been perpetually pissed off with (noted Neil Young fan) Donald Trump both for using his music at events and, y’know, working hard to destroy our planet and countless lives while in office. Now, in the latest of his Fireside Sessions at-home performance series, he’s taken “Lookin’ For A Leader,” an old Living With War track that criticizes George W. Bush, and changed it up a bit so it refers to Donald Trump.
The lyrics are shuffled around to include modern topics, with lines like, “We don’t need a leader building walls around our house, who don’t know Black lives matter, and it’s time to vote him out!” Young also touches on Trump “hidin’ in his bunker, something else to lie about” and urges listeners to vote for Democratic nominee Joe Biden in order to “take his place somehow.”
While we’re always happy to hear Young using his talents to shit on terrible politicians, there’s something more than a little dispiriting about the fact that a song written in 2006 can be so lightly reworked as contemporary commentary. Maybe, if deeper problems had been addressed over the last 14 years, it wouldn’t be so easy to swap out these lyrics. And maybe then we wouldn’t be overcome with a horrible foreboding that Young will probably release another version of the track a few years from now, one with lines referencing, say, President Ivanka fleeing the country on a hoverplane with the last six liters of potable water left in the Great Lakes tucked under her arm.
Listen to “Lookin’ For A Leader 2020" on its own here or watch the entire Fireside Sessions “Porch Episode” (which also includes solo performances of “Ohio” and Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changing”) over here.
[via Consequence Of Sound]
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