Neil Young will officially release The Monsanto Years on June 30th. For the album, the legendary rocker teamed up with Lukas Nelson's band, Promise Of The Real. The album was recorded at The Teatro, an old movie theater in Oxnard, California, where Lukas' dad, Willie Nelson, did Teatro in 1998.
The concept album, which focuses on the American agribusiness corporation Monsanto, is a smart mix of high energy distorted guitar rock blended with mid-tempo tunes. Promise Of The Real add great depth to turn songs like "People Want To Hear About Love," "Big Box," and "Monsanto Years" into jam heavy songs. "A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop" is a fun ditty with Neil voicing strong lyrics about Starbucks, Monsanto, and GMOs.
With the exception of the acoustic "Wolf Moon," the album showcases Neil's political lyrics supported by meaty, guitar focused rock like "New Day For Love" and the Bob Dylan-esque "Workin' Man."
Neil Young has always been a man of the people, and these environmentally and politically conscious songs are a reflection of his ideals in the context of modern history. As Young sings on "Big Box," corporations like Walmart are "too big to fail, too rich for jail." There's anger behind the music, balanced by a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and old fashioned hippie values.
If you're a fan of Neil Young's guitar explorations and you don't mind the heavy-handed politics, you're likely to enjoy this album. However, The Monsanto Years lacks the energy and pop aesthetic that made much of his more celebrated work from the '70s to the '90s so great. The vocals are also kinda rough at times.
Neil Young + Promise Of The Real will be going on tour in support of the new album. For more information about that, as well as Neil's latest music and news, check out his Zumic artist page.