In “Let’s Roll,” Neil Young Channels His Inner Neocon

This blog has a new theme song.

As quasi-obsessive as I am about 9/11, I can’t understand how Neil Young’s “Let’s Roll” escaped my notice from November 2001, when he first released the single, until today.  Thanks to Facebook friend Meg Marlowe for posting a YouTube link to the live version a few hours ago. [Note: the live version got deleted, the link now points to a music video.]

I love every syllable of the lyrics, but here’s the passage that qualifies the song as an anthem for All That Is Necessary:

No one has the answer
But one thing is true
You’ve gotta turn on evil
When it’s coming after you

You gotta face it down
And when it tries to hide
You gotta go in after it
And never be denied

I actually prefer the studio version, which you can also hear in its entirety via  (Mr. Young, I don’t know whether this post or any of the links violate your copyright, but FWIW, I just bought the song on iTunes.)

I’ve always loved Neil Young’s music, and in my youth I loved his politics as well.  I’m thinking particularly about  “Ohio,” the haunting Vietnam-era rally cry with its semi-explicit call to revolution (“gotta get down to it… should have been done long ago.”) In the three-plus decades since then, Young clearly hasn’t traveled as far down the neocon path as I have — in 2006 he released “Let’s Impeach the President,” which I won’t be buying.  But it’s amazing to me that the man who wrote “Let’s Impeach” and “Ohio” could also produce, in “Let’s Roll,” a clear-eyed clarion call without the slightest whiff of anti-American sentiment.  As Meg said on Facebook, “we all grow, right?”