The magic number for Neil Young seems to be 40. Late last week, the Canadian rocker released a 40-minute silent film previewing his album that drops tomorrow, Americana – and it’s the third 40-minute movie he’s produced in less than two years to promote his music.
Titled A Day at the Gallery, Young’s s latest film portrays him as an author touring an art gallery in hopes of procuring paintings for his new book titled, simply, America. The plot doest seem far fetched from reality, as Young commissioned artist Shepherd Fairey to create images to accompany each song on Americana. Watch the silent film on Young’s website.
When their collaboration was first announced, fans weren’t exactly sure how Fairey’s artwork would be incorporated into Young’s record campaign. Here, Young tours the gallery and hops from painting to painting, giving viewers a close-up of each Fairey creation and a soundtrack of his new album with Crazy Horse. The film, shot at Fairey’s studio space in Southern California, also incorporates footage from silent film director D.W. Griffith. These vintage shots of rural and Rust Belt life double as the album’s music videos, four of which have been released thus far.
Those not explicitly aware of Fairey might find his artistic style familiar, however. The figures portrayed in the paintings may remind some of President Obama’s “Hope” poster, used pervasively throughout his 2008 presidential campaign and designed by Fairey.
The covers that comprise Young’s album should be familiar as well: Americana is a collection of folk songs from the American songbook reworked as guitar-shredding rock songs. From “Oh Susannah” to “This Land Is Your Land,” the album features the sorts of songs most have heard since childhood.
“Each of these compositions is very much part of the fabric of our American heritage; the roots of what we think of as ‘Americana’ in cultural terms, using songs as a way of passing along information and documenting our past,” Young said in a release.
Americana drops tomorrow (June 5) and is currently available for streaming in full via SoundCloud.
– Jillian Mapes, CBS Local