Neil Young & Promise of the Real - The Monsanto Years
Critic Score
Based on 19 reviews
2015 Ratings: #649 / 771
User Score
Based on 13 ratings
June 29, 2015 / Release Date
LP / Format
Reprise / Label
Folk Rock / Genres
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The Guardian
Young is still a force to be reckoned with. There is urgency and energy here.

On The Monsanto Years, the iconoclast skewers economic deception, corruption of our food and the profit motive while offering evidence of why the raggedy rocker matters.

The Skinny

The Monsanto Years is a crystallisation of some of Young’s hardest-fought political positions. And it comes at a time of minor global awakening on many of these fronts.


The topic at hand may have been considerably altered compared to past works, but this is the gritty, no-nonsense Young of old at work having made his most compelling record since 2010’s Le Noise, and one of his most important.

It's another album of Neil being Neil, and that's a good thing.

Young uses his sturdy footing to lash out at what he perceives as destructive forces -- to our dinner tables and social fabric -- and if the individual message may wind up fading like yesterday's newspapers, the music will keep The Monsanto Years burning bright.

Rolling Stone
These songs are powerfully felt, even if they probably won't end up getting within sniffing distance of Young's towering canon.
The Line of Best Fit

As things stand, The Monsanto Years is another inessential and underpowered Neil Young album to file alongside the likes of 2003's ecological garage rock opera Greendale: good ideas and inspiring ideals grounded by half-baked presentation and paucity of substantial songcraft.


In a cultural landscape craving feel-good entertainment, The Monsanto Years' brand of straight-shootin' rock'n'roll activism is going to be a tougher sell than a Pono.

A.V. Club

Like Monsanto’s ancestral predecessors, the result is underproduced, underwritten, and not likely to take up more than a few months (if not weeks or days) of Young’s promotional energies before he moves to the next thing.

The man can only talk so long about farmers, or about chemical giants arm-in-arm with fascist politicians, before it begins to feel like a parody of a Neil Young record, a parody of a protest record.
Consequence of Sound
When it comes to an end, there’s less of a fire in your belly to stampede Monsanto’s walls with pitchforks than there is an urge to slip Young’s earlier work into the car stereo and cross the barren stretch of country that looks the same as it did in the ’60s.
American Songwriter
While the intent is genuine and the message on point, plowing through this is an exercise in endurance that even the Neil Young faithful might find taxing.
Slant Magazine
The result is the album equivalent of a chain email sent from your parents, typed out in all caps.
Tiny Mix Tapes

Sadly, Neil Young’s The Monsanto Years has too little of the speed, appeal, and lucidity needed to pull off a 21st-century “protest” album.

Even with some retooled song concepts from previous Young albums, The Mosanto Years is better than his last 2 efforts, though still not a Neil Young classic by any means. He manages to say a lot less than he probably thinks he has here, with arbitrary and pointless protest songs against Starbucks' GMOs, Monsanto's chemical agriculture, general pollution "loving Mother Nature" and a lot of other out-of-touch hippy babble. Neil is getting more and more pretentious and less relevant; he ... read more
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Track List

  1. A New Day for Love
  2. Wolf Moon
  3. People Want to Hear About Love
  4. Big Box
  5. A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop
  6. Workin' Man
  7. Rules of Change
  8. Monsanto Years
  9. If I Don't Know
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Added on: May 14, 2015