Certain Songs #1287: Neil Young – “Throw Your Hatred Down”

Album: Mirror Ball
Year: 1995

Recorded at Bad Animals on February 10, 1995

For some reason, Mirror Ball has kind of a bad rap, but I prefer it to the two Crazy Horse albums that sandwiched it — Sleeps With Angels and Broken Arrow, as the former is too dark conceptually and the latter is too muddy sonically.

Not to mention that none of the best songs on those records rose to the level of the best songs on Mirror Ball: “Act of Love,” “Scenery,” the titanic “I’m The Ocean,” and the utterly thrashing “Throw Your Hatred Down,” which was as typical of a great Neil Young song as “I’m The Ocean” was atypical.

With Neil’s guitar soaring over the full throated din of Stone Gossard & Mike McCready, and drummer Jack Irons playing a speedy, chunky beat, “Throw Your Hatred Down” leapt from the gate, fully-formed.

Here in the conscious world
We place our theories down
Why man must bring us
To our knees
Before he sees the weakness
Of his sinful plan
The power in his hand
Will never touch a friend

And when they all speed into the chorus after each verse, Neil’s guitar chiming massive hooks and producer Brendan O’Brien’s piano jangling in the foreground, it’s incredibly thrilling.

Throw your hatred down
Throw your hatred down
Throw your hatred down
Throw your weapons down

Also incredibly thrilling: Neil’s guitar solos after all three verses. He’s in attack mode here, his guitar the one weapon that isn’t going to be thrown down, so every single note explodes into the night looking for other notes to play with and almost always finding them.

Sadly, outside of occasional appearances with Pearl Jam, “Throw Your Hatred Down” — like “I’m The Ocean” or “Change Your Mind” — wasn’t one of those songs that really made it out of the 1990s, which really goes to the fact that no matter how much he fought it, most of the time Neil Young crowds are going to want to see (or read about) “Like a Hurricane” or “Cortez The Killer” than even his greatest songs from the mid-1990s.

“Throw Your Hatred Down”

“Throw Your Hatred Down” live 1995 w/ Pearl Jam

“Throw Your Hatred Down” live 1997 w/ Crazy Horse

“Throw Your Hatred Down” live solo acoustic, Farm Aid 1998

4 Responses to “Certain Songs #1287: Neil Young – “Throw Your Hatred Down””

  1. How can you skip this when Ragged Glory is one of your favorite albums?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oo-4viCN_w4

  2. Admittedly, it would be better with the Horse playing.

  3. That’s the problem with this album – a lot of good Crazy Horse songs, but no Crazy Horse.

  4. Jim Connelly says:

    It’s a good song, but you’re right, the ones I loved the most — “I’m The Ocean,” “Throw Your Hatred Down,” even “Scenery,” were more well-suited to Pearl Jam.

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