Maybe Music Can Still Change the World

Interviewed in Berlin last week, Neil Young told reporters that the time when music could change the world is past. “I think it would be very naive to think that in this day and age,” the Woodstock-era rocker opined.

Maybe Neil needs to check his e-mail box. Because “change” may indeed be coming—but in the form of a viral music video rather than a muddy concert at Max Yasgur’s Farm.

While one can’t argue causality, it’s hard to ignore the correlation: Barack Obama’s surge in the past two weeks has come directly on the heels of the release of will.i.am’s inspirational video, “Yes We Can” (above).

Compare it to this John F. Kennedy ad from the 1960 election, which I wrote about last October. This is exactly the kind of “banner of optimism” I was referring to months ago. It just needed to be set to music again.

With apologies to Neil—whom I’ve always loved—and his CSNY mates: How’s that for Déjà Vu?