Neil Young wants listeners”To Feel the Music”


Usually when an elder statesman or woman of a genre complains about new music, most of the arguments are about style and perhaps approach. For veteran rocker Neil Young, it seems he wants listeners to have a better experience when they listen to music via ever-popular music streaming services. Young outlines his ideas in a new book, “To Feel the Music.” The book was released Sept. 9, 2019.

Neil Young, a storied musical life

As a professional musician, Young has been associated with a variety of performers from Rick James, Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills and Nash. He has even performed with grunge icons, Pearl Jam in the 1990s.

Young’s work in the 1980s has earned him a considerable amount of listeners, too. He took a risk in the early 1980s by teaming up with The Shocking Pinks. It was with the pop group that Young recorded “Everybody’s Rockin.'” From that album, the single, “Wonderin'” emerged in 1983.

Later, 1989’s “Rockin’ in a Free World,” reminded people who had perhaps never known, or who had forgotten, exactly what Young was capable of. The song’s lyrics were nothing short of contemporary poetry that criticized culture and politics.

Then, when  “Rockin’ in the Free World” underwent a resurgence in popular thanks to the pairing with Pearl Jam, it was became abundantly clear that Young was a serious performer who had no problem teaming up with younger bands to keep music alive.

Therefore, Young’s position on music is not insignificant. While the performer has written an entire book on the subject, his interviews about the quality of streamed music is interesting, too.

In a recent New York Times interview, Young explains that the “tinny” nature of streamed music is not how music was to be experienced. It is unclear if Young is such a stickler for sound purity because he is a musician, or simply because it is his authentic way of responding to the world. It is likely that Young would still strive for a more full sound even if he wasn’t a professional musician.

Music fans will have to wait to see if Young’s dissatisfaction yields a new listening service or device designed to make music sound as full as possible.


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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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