Neil Young’s ‘Monsanto Years’ Targets Respond
Billboard reached out to the companies Young criticizes on the new LP, asking PR flacks at Chevron, Walmart, Starbucks and Monsanto to comment on lyrics calling them out for contributing to an array of ills that includes corporate lobbying, GMOs, and low wages. Unsurprisingly, not all the organizations chose to return Young's volleys — Chevron responded with a polite "we are not going to participate" — but others were eager to respond.
Fittingly, the most verbose rebuttal comes courtesy of Monsanto, whose GMO policies are attacked in a title track whose chorus concludes with the line "Give us this day our daily bread, and let us not go with Monsanto." According to the company, Young just doesn't understand what they're all about.
"Many of us at Monsanto have been and are fans of Neil Young. Unfortunately, for some of us, his current album may fail to reflect our strong beliefs in what we do every day to help make agriculture more sustainable," says a representative. "We recognize there is a lot of misinformation about who we are and what we do – and unfortunately several of those myths seem to be captured in these lyrics."
GMOs are also the reason for Young's ire against Starbucks, where a rep ducks the issue by saying the company isn't taking a position in the debate and is waiting for a "national solution." A rep for Walmart, meanwhile, shrugged off the Monsanto Years track "Big Box," and its portrayal of the company as a low-wage dead end for workers, by pointing out that employees now make slightly more than they used to.
"As you might have seen recently, Walmart raised its lowest starting wage to $9 an hour," reads Walmart's response. "We’re proud of the opportunity we provide people to build a career and have a chance at a better life."
The Monsanto Years is due out June 29, and finds Young working alongside Promise of the Real, a band featuring Willie Nelson's sons Lukas and Micah. Check out a list of upcoming tour dates — and an advance peek of the Monsanto track "Rock Starbucks" — here.
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