Sunday, September 25, 2011

Neil Young Covers: Old Man

The Boxcar Lilies: Old Man


There are three ways that I can think of to interpret the song Old Man. The narrator could be addressing an imaginary old man, who represents what he thinks he will be like in quite a few years, looking back at his life. The narrator could be addressing an actual old man, but not one that he knows well; in that case, the narrator is simply projecting his own concerns onto a relative stranger, seeking to reassure himself that there is a future for himself. Or the narrator could actually know the old man well enough to compare himself; in this case, the narrator is seeking common ground with someone from another time. I find all of these possible meanings in the original, and The Boxcar Lilies preserve them beautifully. I want to reassure the 24 year-old narrator that there is indeed a future to look forward to, and more love to be won and lost and won. I’m a bit older than that, as you may have guessed.

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