Neil Young And Promise Of The Real’s upcoming The Monsanto Years is a protest album that continues Young’s recent trend of taking corporations to task regarding farm policies, GMOs (genetically modified organisms), and labor practices. Billboard reached out to some of those companies for a response to Young’s lyrics, and several companies wrote back. Monsanto, which Young targets in the album’s title track, had this to say about his suggestion that their company is putting family farmers out of business:
Many of us at Monsanto have been and are fans of Neil Young. Unfortunately, for some of us, his current album may fail to reflect our strong beliefs in what we do every day to help make agriculture more sustainable. 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.
Starbucks, subject of the punny “A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop,” offered this response to Young’s rejection of GMOs:
Starbucks has not taken a position on the issue of GMO [genetically modified organism] labeling. As a company with stores and a product presence in every state, we prefer a national solution.
Young criticized Walmart’s wages and benefits in the song “Big Box,” and Walmart answered thusly:
As you might have seen recently, Walmart raised its lowest starting wage to $9 an hour. We’re proud of the opportunity we provide people to build a career and have a chance at a better life.
Chevron, which gets dissed in “People Want To Hear Songs About Love,” opted not to respond.
So there you have it: The corporate behemoths have attempted to defend themselves against their rock star nemesis. How’d they do?
The Monsanto Years is out 6/29 on Reprise.