On his new album, Earth, Neil Young took some recent concert performances and enhanced them with animal noises, other natural sounds and eerily sweet backing vocals to create a sonic commentary on the state of our planet.
“This is something I always wanted to do, a live record that is like a living record where everybody comes and people are there and creatures are there from everywhere,” Young tells ABC Radio. “It’s just a crazy hippie dream, I guess.”
The 70-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer says the concept behind Earth emerged as he was piecing together the 13-track album, which was culled from the best performances from a 25-show series he played with current backing band Promise of the Real. The track list features songs with pro-environmental and anti-corporate themes dating as far back as 1970’s “After the Gold Rush” and also including several tunes from 2015’s The Monsanto Years.
Young maintains that the idea to add the various animal noises to the live recordings came to him because the sound of concert audiences often reminds him of different animals. Neil positioned the sound of the creatures most prominently between songs, which he says gave him “the feeling of floating through space and time, going to different places and being able to hear what’s happening on Earth and then returning to an arena where there is music.”
The other interesting element of Earth album is the aforementioned backing singers, which Young says represent the point of view of the corporation lulling the listener into a false sense of security.
“There’s a lot of misleading information out there that is in the guise of perfection and soothing sounds,” Neil points out, “and a little bit distracting or disarming when considered with the surrounding things.”
Earth hits stores today.
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