Rallying cries

By MATT ASHARE  |  May 15, 2006

Much of Vedder’s soul searching about the war is cryptic: you do have to read between the lines when he sings about walking on a tightrope over “moral grounds.” But it doesn’t take a doctorate to figure out the pensive “Army Reserve,” as he puts himself in the head of a mother reassuring a daughter that daddy’s safe while trying to convince herself that “Father is risking his life for our freedoms.” It’s one of the more poignant tracks, the moment at which Vedder turns anger into pathos and, like Cindy Sheehan’s vigil outside Bush’s Texas ranch, strips away the political to reveal the naked humanity of the issue. Young doesn’t need, and neither does he attempt, anything along those lines in Living with War. His is a rousing political call to arms that invites you to join in on the chorus of “No more lies” as he reads down a list of wrongs, from coffins draped in American flags to Jihad to Madison Avenue wars. But both Vedder and Young are united, along with Springsteen, in their belief that music still has the power to change minds and, they hope, lives. It’s a worthy leap of faith.

PEARL JAM + MY MORNING JACKET | May 24-25 | TD Banknorth Garden, Causeway St, Boston | 617.228.6000

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Neil Young, "Living With War" (streaming audio)
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