Neil Young & Promise of the Real wax political in ‘Children of Destiny’

Neil Young has surprise-released a new song just in time for the Fourth of July.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Rocker Neil Young muses over what notions of patriotism and freedom mean circa 2017 in a new song and video, “Children of Destiny,” that he released by surprise on Friday just in time for weekend commemorations of Independence Day.

Backed by the Promise of the Real, the young Americana rock group fronted by Willie Nelson’s guitar-wielding son Lukas Nelson, and a large orchestra, the veteran rocker and political activist invokes images of flag-waving crowds, demonstration marches, cute kids in Fourth of July parades, devastation in war-torn parts of the world and the beauty of the natural world in the video.

The song opens with a hard-driving, rousing chorus in which Young sings: “Stand up for what you believe/ Resist the powers-that-be/ Preserve the land and save the seas/ For the children of destiny.”


The mood and tempo quickly shift, and a ghostly rendering of Young’s face appears as he moves on to a more melancholy verse in which the orchestra’s strings come to the fore:

Should goodness ever lose

And evil steal the day

Should happy sing the blues

And peaceful fade away


What would you do?

What would you say?

How would you act on that new day?

The answer, in the video, comes with shots of thousands of people marching in streets of different cities as the chorus comes roaring back in.

In an accompanying clip posted to his Facebook page, Young notes, “We made a record we wanted to share with you. We played with a bunch of people, not long ago — maybe two weeks — total strangers, in the same room on a full moon, 65 of us. It was very great.”

“Children of Destiny” is a free-standing single and video, and the track was recorded at Capitol Studio A in Hollywood. It is available for streaming and download at all digital outlets.


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