Living with War

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Living with War
Living with War (Neil Young album - cover art).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 2, 2006[1]
RecordedMarch–April, 2006
StudioRedwood Digital and Capitol Studios
ProducerNeil Young, Niko Bolas and L.A. Johnson
Neil Young chronology
Prairie Wind
Living with War
Live at the Fillmore East
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[3]
Robert ChristgauB+[4]
Mojo3/5 stars[5]
Okayplayer4/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[8]

Living With War is the 27th studio album by Canadian / American musician Neil Young, released on May 2, 2006. The album's lyrics, titles, and conceptual style are highly critical of the policies of the George W. Bush administration; the CTV website defined it as "a musical critique of U.S. President George W. Bush and his conduct of the war in Iraq".[9] The record was written and recorded over the course of only nine days in March and April 2006.[1][10]

Living with War was nominated for a Grammy and Juno Award.

Production and release[edit]

Young began writing songs for Living with War in a Gambier, Ohio, hotel room while visiting his daughter at her college.[11] While retrieving coffee from a vending machine early one morning, Young saw the front page of a USA Today issue documenting a surgery room on an airplane flying seriously wounded US soldiers from Iraq to Germany.[11] He later told Charlie Rose that the combination of the vivid picture and the headline (which focused not on any suffering and death depicted, but rather on medical breakthroughs made during the war) moved him: "For some reason, that was what did it to me. I went upstairs after that. I wrote this song, 'Families'; I started writing another song, 'Restless Consumer'; I started writing all these songs all at once; I had like four songs going at once."[11] Young has said that after writing the songs, he quickly began "coming apart."[11] He called his wife Pegi back to their room, and "I held on to her, and I was sobbing. I was sobbing so hard, that things were coming out of my face."[11]

The rhythm section of Rick Rosas and Chad Cromwell, and Young's "Volume Dealers" co-producer Niko Bolas were also at the core of Young's 1989 album Freedom, which contained an angry criticism of Reagan-George H. W. Bush America. There are other links between the albums: Bray also performed on Freedom and Freedom's hit single "Rockin' in the Free World" also contained a quotation of a President Bush: "a thousand points of light".

The sessions were recorded on 16-track analog tape and mixed to a half-inch analog two-track master, then transferred to high-resolution digital media for CD and DVD manufacturing.[1] The vinyl pressing was on 200 g discs.

On April 28, 2006, the album was given a pre-release premiere in its entirety on the Los Angeles radio station KLOS (95.5) by Jim Ladd.[1][12] The album was released onto the Internet on May 2, 2006, before entering retail in May 2006.[1] Young has expressed that his intent is that the work be considered as a whole, and the streaming-audio internet release was the whole album, rather than individually selectable songs.

That first impression is so important" ... "Instead of just going to "Let's Impeach the President", people will have to absorb the whole thing. To understand the songs, you need to understand where the whole album's coming from. It protects my right as an artist to have the work presented the way I created it.

— Neil Young

The rush release and the political nature of the tracks are also comparable to Young's 1970 song "Ohio".

In November 2006, Young released a stripped-down version of the album, Living with War: "In the Beginning", without the backing instrumentation and choral accompaniment found on the original release.


The lyrics in "Living With War" are in line with the early 1960s albums of folk artists such as Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan, although they are set to what Young calls "metal folk protest music"[13]. Time Out London similarly proclaimed the record to be an "anti-Bush folk-metal tirade".[2]


Reviewing the album for Mojo magazine, Sylvie Simmons described the songs as "Urgent, instant, bolshie mostly, with a stronger individual melodic sense than, say, Greendale, but without the intense beauty of, say, Ohio … though definitely an improvement on Let's Roll".[5] Living with War was nominated for three 2007 Grammy Awards in the categories of Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song and Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance (both for "Lookin' for a Leader").

Despite the album's content and criticism from right wing blogs leading up to the release, Young stated that he considers the album nonpartisan.[14] He said in an interview with The New York Times: "If you impeach Bush, you're doing a huge favor for the Republicans … They can run again with some pride."[14] Commenting on the lack of artists writing songs critical of American policy at the time, Young said, "I was hoping some young person would come along and say this and sing some songs about it, but I didn't see anybody, so I'm doing it myself. I waited as long as I could."[15]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Neil Young, except where noted.

1."After the Garden" 3:23
2."Living with War" 5:04
3."The Restless Consumer" 5:47
4."Shock and Awe" 4:53
5."Families" 2:25
6."Flags of Freedom" 3:42
7."Let's Impeach the President" 5:10
8."Lookin' for a Leader" 4:03
9."Roger and Out" 4:25
10."America the Beautiful"Katharine Lee Bates, Samuel Augustus Ward2:57


  • Neil Young – guitars, harmonica, vocal, producer
  • Rick Rosas – bass
  • Chad Cromwell – drums
  • Tommy Bray – trumpet


  • Niko Bolas – producer
  • L. A. Johnson – assistant producer
  • Mix-down at Redwood Digital with Niko Bolas and second engineer John Hausman
  • Mastering by Tim Mulligan at Redwood Digital
  • Digital Soundbites- Will Mitchell (Let's Impeach The President}
  • 100-voice choir conducted and arranged by Darrell Brown and recorded in one 12-hour session at Capitol recording studios in Los Angeles.


Chart (2006) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[16] 41
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[17] 27
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[18] 14
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[19] 39
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[20] 7
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[21] 18
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[22] 24
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[23] 18
French Albums (SNEP)[24] 92
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[25] 13
Irish Albums (IRMA)[26] 24
Italian Albums (FIMI)[27] 28
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[28] 31
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[29] 4
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[30] 37
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[31] 11
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[32] 48
UK Albums (OCC)[33] 14
US Billboard 200[34] 15


  1. ^ a b c d e "Living With War Timeline". Archived from the original on 2015-04-03. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
  2. ^ a b "CSNY: Déja Vù". Time Out London. 18 July 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  3. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine (2006-05-09). "Living with War – Neil Young | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
  4. ^ "CG: neil young". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
  5. ^ a b Simmons, Sylvie (July 2006). "Presidential Suite: Neil Young Living With War". Mojo. p. 112.
  6. ^ "Neil Young – Living with War". Retrieved 2015-06-03.
  7. ^ "Neil Young: Living With War | Album Reviews". Pitchfork. 2006-04-30. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
  8. ^ Fricke, David (2006-05-01). "Neil Young Living With War Album Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
  9. ^ "CTV News | Top Stories – Breaking News – Top News Headlines". 2014-10-22. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
  10. ^ Petridis 2006
  11. ^ a b c d e [1]
  12. ^ Butler 2006
  13. ^ "Neil Young's new 'metal folk protest music'". 1970-05-15. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
  14. ^ a b PARELES, JON. "Neil Young's 'Living With War' Shows He Doesn't Like It". New York Times. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  15. ^ Rayner, Ben (2 November 2008). "U.S. musicians slowing warmed to burning Bush". Toronto Star.
  16. ^ " – Neil Young – Living with War". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  17. ^ " – Neil Young – Living with War" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  18. ^ " – Neil Young – Living with War" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  19. ^ " – Neil Young – Living with War" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  20. ^ "Neil Young Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  21. ^ " – Neil Young – Living with War". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  22. ^ " – Neil Young – Living with War" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  23. ^ "Neil Young: Living with War" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  24. ^ " – Neil Young – Living with War". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  25. ^ " – Neil Young – Living with War" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  26. ^ " – Discography Neil Young". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  27. ^ " – Neil Young – Living with War". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  28. ^ " – Neil Young – Living with War". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  29. ^ " – Neil Young – Living with War". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  30. ^ " – Neil Young – Living with War". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  31. ^ " – Neil Young – Living with War". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  32. ^ " – Neil Young – Living with War". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  33. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  34. ^ "Neil Young Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved September 21, 2020.

External links[edit]