Imagine Neil Young at the border crossing, rapping with the immigration guy about his green-card circumstance. He was born in 1 country, lives in a different. Does he have anything to declare? Always. In reality, you can not shut him up.

Young’s 39th studio record is The Visitor, a protest-record rally telephone, at turns ornery and reflective. It’s also, especially on the LP’s first course, a definitive diplomatic-status declaration.

“I am Canadian, by the way,” Young sings on Already terrific, “but I really like the U.S.A.”

On a grungy, lurching rocker with a saloon-piano ambiance, Young, 72, waves the Stars and Stripes with the romanticism and rheumatoid illusions a man of the generation and nation can muster. He rhymes “promised land” with “helping hand,” while declaring himself a shining example of an immigrant living the American dream.

You are looking at one of the lucky ones

Came here from there to be here

Got to taste the life in liberty land

To play my part in God’s plan

Young, of course, fled the persecution of Canada in the late 1960s, tearfully kissing the floor of a United States bountiful with civil-rights strife, soul-crushing assassinations and Vietnam War conscription. “I am proud to be Canadian, but I do not let it hold me back,” he’s said.

Some 50 years later, he protests with gusto, railing against the sloganeering President in charge of the nation Young still adores. “You are already great” is the fawning, heaven-sent chorus of the initial clip, followed by a pitchfork-mob chant about “no wall, no hate, no fascist U.S.A.” (The audience chant is credited to “American citizens,” a group to that Young doesn’t belong.)

With songs that moves coherently from rocky blues to megaphone-style angst to acoustic strums into Tex-Mex suggestions to occasional orchestral circumstances, The Visitor finds Young (with his powerful backing group Promise of the Actual) politically charged and speaking his mind, continuing the trend of 2016’s Peace Trail and 2015’s The Monsanto Years (also made with Promise of the Real).

Co-produced with long-time collaborator John Hanlon and listed at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, Calif., The Visitor is a much better album than its predecessors. The production recalls the gritty vividness and vibrancy of 1972’s Harvest, especially on the album opener. In terms of the voice, the Old Man singer hasn’t seemed older or gruffer.

Earth-as-a-church laments pop up more than once; on the anthemic grunge of Stand Tall, Young ridicules climate-change deniers. The conga-excited Carnival is an superb outlier, with Young laughing maniacally and dance to the sort of fevered fantasies that Santana and the celebrated Mr. Kite used to enjoy.

The acoustic Almost Always will catch attention for its line about the “game-show host who needs to brag and who must boast,” but the song carries another of the album’s themes: Young’s ruminations on his values as a songwriter this long into the match.

“Can I have something to say,” he asks, before indicating his function is that of a “mad searchlight, lighting a person’s way.” Also from Almost Always: “Hear that mad little bird, callin’ his tune / Standin’ out on a limb, almost too long.”

On the leisurely Rio Grande breeze of this album-closing Forever, Young wants to help with the environmental activism of Al Gore, singing of his need to create a difference, “tryin’ today to assist him with a word.”

Do protest tunes help? Hard to say. However, it’s probably true that an anti-Trump screed is less powerful than a tune more communal. Woody Guthrie’s guitar might have murdered fascists, but his This Land Is Your Land was galvanizing, not mad or polarizing.

(Young, naturally, ought to be commended for any type of protest in any respect. Wary of offending any one record-buying demographic, many artists remain clear of pulpits. Taylor Swift? For all she knows, “truth to power” was an eighties funk band.)

What’s perplexing is Young’s decision to market a distinctly American record with a Dec. 1 concert streamed on the internet from “somewhere in Canada,” according to a press release. Shouldn’t he be singing on the White House lawn or in Mount Rushmore rather than Coronation Hall at Omemee, Ont. ?

Young comes to Canada sometimes — for the high degree of adulation and “dream comfort memory” nostalgia he can not get anywhere else. He comes for promotional purposes.

Although his tough-love message to America is laudable, with a launch concert in Canada, he is delivering his message from the wrong side of the fence. His record is called The Visitor, but in many ways he’s a tourist here, not there. Dusting off his back Maple Leaf while residing in his “promised land,” Young wants it both ways.

Neil Young: From Somewhere in Canada flows at , Dec. 1, 8 p.m. ET.

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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