Neil Young album finally out after 41 years, songs about cruelty still ring true

Neil Young performs onstage at the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala on Feb 6, 2017.
Neil Young performs onstage at the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala on Feb 6, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Forty-one years ago in August, Neil Young drove to a studio on the Pacific coast and, over one full-moon night, recorded 10 songs reflecting on human cruelty and self-discovery.

Several of the tracks became signature songs of the folk rock legend.

Yet the album itself, Hitchhiker, remained in the vault.

Young, 71, finally releases it on Friday. But after more than four decades,is it still relevant for 2017?

Young has said that his business side back in 1976 had been unenthusiastic about Hitchhiker, seeing it not as a proper album but as a collection of demos for later recording.

"I always knew the original album would find its place and surface. That time is now," he told a Colorado radio station recently.

"A long time, a long wait - but worth it. This music is the essence of those times, pure and undisturbed, just as it was 40 years back." .

Take the lyrics on one track Human Highway where he describes a journey into real life and wonders aloud: "How could people get so unkind?"

Which is exactly what is still happening today, from conflicts in the Middle East and terrorist attacks to anti-immigrant fever.