Neil Young says America ‘already great’ in latest music

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NEIL YOUNG performs during the 2017 Farm Aid concert on Sept. 16 in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania. -- AFP

NEW YORK – Rock legend Neil Young on Friday took aim at President Donald Trump – declaring America to be “already great” – as he announced his latest album.

On Dec. 1, the prolific 71-year-old will release The Visitor, his 39th studio album and his second with Promise of the Real, a hard-charging back-up band that has brought comparisons to Crazy Horse which appeared on Young’s classic works.

Young released a first song off the album entitled “Already Great,” a pointed rejoinder to Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”

To a rugged rock guitar backed up by piano, Young starts off the song by mentioning, “I’m Canadian, by the way” but voicing love for the “freedom” found in life in the United States.

The song then slows down in a harmonic chorus with echoes of Pink Floyd, as he sings, “You’re already great / You’re the promised land / You’re the helping hand.”

The song culminates in a sample of a chant of “Whose streets? Our streets,” a slogan frequently heard at US protests that is commonly associated with the Black Lives Matter movement against police abuses.

Young is no stranger to politics. 1989’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” his most identifiable song, attacked the policies of then president George H. W. Bush, but soon instead became an anthem in Eastern Europe as communism collapsed.

Trump played “Rockin’ in the Free World” in his insurgent right-wing campaign for the White House, angering Young among a slew of other left-leaning artists whose music was embraced by the real estate mogul.

Promise of the Real, a band heavily influenced by Young, is fronted by guitarist and singer Lukas Nelson, the son of country great Willie Nelson.

Young last recorded with Promise of the Real for 2015’s The Monsanto Years, on which the die-hard environmentalist rocker attacked the giant agricultural company over genetically modified seeds.

Young’s last release, “Hitchhiker,” came in September – recorded over one night in 1976 but never formally put out. – AFP