I've been a little obsessed with this song lately.
I can't recall exactly how I stumbled across it but I suspect it was thanks to the AWESOME Mysterious Cities of Gold - but in any event, I'm really enjoying the song. I was already a Neil Young fan but for some reason I'd never heard Cortez the Killer or the Zuma album, which surprised me. A lot. And so perhaps in honour of that surprise I thought I'd share the song plus a bit of trivia about it (thanks, Wiki!):
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about this song is that it seems to upset some historians. Now, I understand that representation is a great mediator of reality but I doubt Young ever claimed to be presenting a historical document.
It's obviously romanticising history for the purpose of song - and listeners need to learn how to navigate all forms of media. Obviously, the Aztecs did indeed know war and hate and yeah, Cortez did murder a lot of people - but interestingly, Young seems to humanise the coloniser in the second last verse:
And I know she's living there
And she loves me to this day.
I still can't remember when
or how I lost my way
Like whoever wrote the wikipedia article on the song, I too wonder, does Young sing from Cortez's point of view there? Is Cortez pining for La Malinche? (And what a fascinating figure she is too.)
Next week - another banned song :)
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Ashley Capes is an Australian writer of fiction, poetry and very occasional non-fiction.
Imperial Towers (Never Book 5) - draft 1
Moss Dragon - draft 1
Reed Lavender (working title) - draft 1
Unnamed Spec Fic - draft 1
Whisper of Leaves (sequel) - Outline