Neil Young is 63 today! Decided to celebrate!
I love this song so much, words can't express it. When I stopped drinking (1982), this tune stopped being merely descriptive and passed into my personal mythology. It became a hymn.
There is ambivalence and regret embedded in every line of this song, and the singer initially sounds bereft. But by the end, he makes a decision, and he is strong. It is somehow all the more moving from such a shaky voice. He is unsure, confused and searching for his way. And in the telling, he finds it.
I didn't fully understand the song until I started telling my story, and then I found my way, too.
Just a masterpiece. I save it for days I need it, like now. :)
Happy birthday, Neil, we love you.
Neil Young - Thrasher
Like certain other favorites of mine (notably FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN and SUNSET BOULEVARD), Powderfinger is narrated by a dead man. HOW do they do this, you wonder? I once asked this question in Film Studies class: How could William Holden, floating face down in a pool, narrate Sunset Boulevard? I was answered: poetic license. (And I was a huge fan of poetic license forever after!)
At the end of the song, we realize the narrator is gone, and speaks for so many other young men who die before their time:
Shelter me from the powder and the finger
Cover me with the thought that pulled the trigger
Think of me as one you'd never figured
Would fade away so young
With so much left undone
Remember me to my love,
I know I'll miss her.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Powderfinger