CSN WHY

Neil Young wrote a song about Starbucks and it’s really bizarre

This post has been updated.

Rocker Neil Young has a history of being both crotchety and single-minded in his music. He’s put out concept albums about electric cars, former US president George W. Bush, and even his own career. Now he’s turning his attention to Monsanto, the agricultural chemical company, on his forthcoming album, The Monsanto Years.

In a song which officially debuted May 22 on the Democracy Now radio show, Young voices his concerns about Starbucks and its alleged connection to Monsanto, along with the allegation that the coffee store may not be labeling genetically-modified products.

Starbucks has denied Young’s claims in the past, telling CNN in December that it “is not aligned with Monsanto.” Starbucks also told Quartz that it isn’t part of any lawsuit pertaining to GMO labeling, nor is it aligned with Monsanto to stop Vermont State law. A Monsanto representative told Quartz, that many at the company are fans of Neil Young, but, “We recognize there is a lot of misinformation about who we are and what we do – and unfortunately several of those myths seem to be captured in these lyrics.”

Young wrote and released his Kent State massacre song “Ohio” in about a week, and protested the first Bush administration with the oft-misused “Rockin’ in the Free World,” but perhaps his best protesting days are behind him.

Below are the lyrics for “Rock Starbucks,” transcribed from a recent Young concert. Make of this what you will.

[whistling]

If you don’t like to rock Starbucks, a coffee shop
Well, you better change your station ’cause that ain’t all that we got
Yeah, I want a cup of coffee, but I don’t want a GMO
I like to start my day off without helping Monsanto

Monnnn-saaaan-toooo
Let our farmers grow
What they want to grow

[whistling]
[guitar solo]

From the fields of Nebraska to the banks of the Ohio,
The farmers won’t be free to grow what they want to grow
When corporate control takes over the American farm
The fascist politicians and chemical giants walking our name off

Monnnn-saaaan-toooo
Let our farmers grow
What they want to grow

[whistling]
[guitar solo]

When the people of Vermont voted to label food with GMOs
So they can find out what was in what the farmer grows
Monsanto and Starbucks through the grocery manufacturers alliance
Sued the state of Vermont to overturn the people’s will

Monnnn-saaaan-toooo (and Starbucks)
Others want to know
What they feed their children

[whistling]
[longer guitar solo]

Monnnn-saaaan-toooo
Let our farmers grow
What they want to grow

[whistling]
[guitar solo]

home our picks popular latest obsessions search