Essay about Neil Young's Perpetually Solitary Figure

1390 Words Jul 15th, 2013 6 Pages
Neil Young's Perpetually Solitary Figure

When Buffalo Springfield dissolved in 1968 after a whirlwind of drug-related arrests involving Neil Young and fellow band members Stephen Stills and Bruce Palmer, many questioned what would become of the multifaceted singer-songwriter. From the ashes rose a slightly ill-at-ease Young, feeling out of place and unsure as a solo artist after his contributions to one of the first successful super-groups of the 1960's. Unpredictable as ever, accompanied by soaring strings and contemplations about his inability or lack of desire to make a deeper connection with the world, Young's prevalent themes of seclusion and loneliness boil to the surface in Self-Titled. Proving to be a richly effortless
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How perfect then is the revelation of “He's a feeling arranger and a changer of the ways he talks”, hinting at the almost sociopathic tendency to avoid interaction with others by simply changing personas so as to avoid directing too much attention unto oneself? When he proclaims “Step aside, open wide, it’s the loner”, Young gives us the impression that this is someone who exudes an aura that causes people to give them more than enough space without having to ask for it. The reason for this is hinted at by the end of the song, when we discover that “There was a woman he knew about a year or so ago. She had something that he needed and he pleaded with her not to go.” Perhaps the reason why people keep a reasonable distance from the “loner” is simply that his outsides have begun to match the sullen and distrustful feelings he is leaving to stew inside himself. When we see someone along that way that carries a dark cloud around with them, the natural response would be to avoid them for fear of their gloomy disposition being reflected back onto us. “Lately I've found myself
Losing my mind
Knowing how badly I need her
It's something hard to find...”

(If I Could Have Her Tonight, Neil Young – Neil Young, 1969)

The placement of “The Loner”, with its driven, rock steady feel lends itself as a deliberate effort to provide a preemptive boost in preparation for the heart

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