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November 20, 2003 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-11-20

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6B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magazine - Thursday, November 20, 2003

The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magazine -

Life s a Beach with Young



By Andrew M. Gaerig
Daily Arts Writer

The beach is no place for Neil
Young. Take one look at his mutton-
chops, his long, straggly hair and his
penchant for flannel, and you realize
this man is not suited to Hawaiian T-
shirts. Born of cold Toronto winters,
Neil's accessories are more pragmat-
ic than contrived: He needs that hair
for warmth, people. Similarly, the
bright colors of sunsets and sands do
the man no justice. In the 1970s, the

colors most often associated with
Neil Young were the following: grey,
black, earthy brown and gray. They
embodied both his
introverted, drug-
gy public persona
and his scraping
guitar attack.
This is why, at
first glance, On
the Beach seems
so wrong. Sure, Neil is looking wist-
fully into the ocean, and there's that
whole car-in-the-sand deal, but when

it comes right down to it, this cover is
more Buffet than Dylan, more surf
than sulk.
These confusing
images make the
From music contained on
the the album all the
Vault more startling.
Originally released
in 1974, On the
Beach was a label-
mandated substitute for Young's
despondent masterpiece, Tonight's
the Night, which was seen as too

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dark. Tonight spent most of its time
coping with the overdose death of
touring guitarist Danny Whitten, and
while Beach doesn't carry that
album's funeral burden, it is infinite-
ly more complicated than the album
art suggests.
"We've got 25 rifles / Just to keep
the population down," Young sneers
on "Revolution Blues," one of most
scathing anti-Hollywood songs ever
laid to tape. The rest of the album
draws from similar sentiments.
"Vampire Blues" is a mean strut,
showcasing Young's sinewy guitar
work in a traditional blues structure.
"For the Turnstiles" skates along on a
sparse banjo pattern, laying traps for
his critics: "All the bush-league bat-
ters / Are left to die on the diamond."
The two songs that open the album,
"Walk On" and "See the Sky About
to Rain," respectively, are the clearest
link's to Young's past. The former,
which continues Young's pointed dia-
logue with Lynyrd Skynyrd, is a
chiming, catchy singalong. The latter,
"See the Sky About to Rain," is full
of lilting pedal steel and shimmering
keyboard work.
The album's last three songs show
its true character. A trio of miserable,
obtuse ballads, they are some of the
best songs in Young's catalog. The
title track is a slow, ethereal vamp,

Courtesy Warner Records
full of harsh confessions: "I need a
crowd of people / But I. can't face
them day to day." "Motion Pictures"
rails against conformity and
"Ambulance Blues" is a sordid,
melodic affair that derives its emo-
tional core from the silver violin
breaks that line the chorus.
Young, a notorious Luddite, had
until recently denied his fans CD ver-
sions of some of his best work. A
series of reissues have begun to cor-
rect this disservice, and On the Beach
is easily the most substantial of
Young's criminally buried works
(only the revered Time Fades Away
remains unheard). Beach is a con-
fused album that finds Young angrily
indicting his critics, and still reeling
from the death of a friend. Casual
fans won't find any "classic" rock,
but On the Beach is a fantastic listen,
an exposed nerve of an album that
twitches with venom and tears of a
legendary songwriter.

have a savings account and,
when my checking gets a little
low or when I need to spend
more than I had budgeted on holi-
day or birthday gifts, a new pair of
jeans or booze, I borrow from it.
The money in it is mine, and it
always has been, but I try not to
borrow against it. I want to save as
much as possible, however, it's reas-
suring to know that if I find myself
in a pinch, it will be there.
So should it be with play. If
you're having a drought, or a slow
season, then you should be able to
borrow against your future play so
that you don't have to resort to get-
ting really drunk Friday night at
your cast party, and so you don't
have to start making out with cast
members, whom thus far have been
just friends.
Yes, ladies - but predominantly
to the gentlemen who have been
complaining about the lack of sex
in this column - this one's for you.
I don't really know how it hap-
pened. I started drinking and, as
always, drank a respectable amount
without getting drunk (yes, I can
drink most of my male and female
friends under the table).
So, when I approached my friend
Sam, who was clutching a bottle of
Everfine "juice," and said in a
British accent, "Please, sir, I want
some more," I clearly didn't have
the faintest idea of what I was in
for. Either Everfine has a nasty
sense of humor, or Sam makes the
strongest drinks ever. Regardless, I
was drunkitty, drunk, drunk, drunk.
Sam, I hold you personally respon-
sible for what ensued.
The night has more holes that
Swiss cheese, but thanks to my
good friends, who relish in my
embarrassment, it is starting to
come together.

There was an "outdoor ren-
dezvous," a rousing rendition of
"The Cell Block Tango" from
"Chicago," more substances and
finally, a bathroom encounter that
led me to say, "So that happened,"
in the morning.
This is precisely why I need a
play savings account because Friday
night, I officially overdrew from my
This led me to a whole new line
of questioning: What next? Noth-
ing, something, anything? I asked
one of my good male friends how to
go about achieving the "fuck
buddy," more for rhetorical purpos-
es than anything else. I wanted to
know my options.
He told me that my initial win-
dow of opportunity would have
been to say, "That was fun. We
should do it again sometime." But
no. I love David Mamet films, so I
had to quote "State and Main" and
say, "So that happened."
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
So now, I'm not quite sure what
to do; leave well enough alone and
play it by ear, or, do I try to achieve
that delicate balance of the friend
with benefits. Or, what's even scari-
er, do I want, and am I capable of
something more?
Lets face it. I don't have time,
nor do I think I even want a rela-
tionship at this point, but that does-
n't mean I want to be totally alone.
I'm at a point where I'm not
looking for anything permanent, but
if I stumbled upon it ... okay then.
What I have to figure out is whether
or not Friday night was a stumble or
just another inebriated fall down the
metaphorical stairs.
While there are a dozen reasons
to put oneself out there, there are a
few very-real fears that make so
many people, myself included,

unable to do so.
There's the fear of rejection, the
reasoning that it was due to the
alcohol that I hooked-up that
evening, the concern that two peo-
ple (thinking independently of each
other) have reached different con-
clusions of what they want in the
future and then there's the greatest
concern of all - that things work
out well.
I keep getting e-mail; from read-
ers telling me to stop eating men.
Once and for all, I do nct and never
have hated men. It ju5 t so happens,

however, that of the experience
that I have had with them, th
majority have been relatively nega
tive. This is why things "working
out" is so daunting: Things neve
"work out."
I am a big proponent of letting
things happen, partly because I d
think that everything happens for
reason. It's not necessarily part o
some larger cosmic plan, but every
thing we do, and everything that i
done to us, teaches us lessons i:
However, one of my attractions t

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Saturday November 22, 2003
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