The clip opens on a pile of old letters and notices that are cleared to make room for a piece of lined paper that begins to fill with Young’s words, which he both speaks and sings with thick Auto-Tune throughout “My Pledge.” The initial letter is folded into a paper boat and sent across a sea of stamps, after which Young’s vivid lyrics and the images and people they evoke – including Jimi Hendrix, John F. Kennedy and Florence Nightingale – appear on an array of postcards.
Young released Peace Trail last December. The musician recorded the primarily acoustic effort not long after the release of Earth, his sprawling LP of live songs from his tour with Promise of the Real mixed with wildlife sounds. Despite the simple instrumentals, Peace Trail is filled with political strife, with references to the Dakota Access pipeline, environmental destruction and police brutality.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Young recalled the Peace Trail sessions, saying, “I would just get up in the morning and pick up my guitar and whatever I did, that was it. I built a song right on that and just wrote about what was on my mind. I’ve done a lot of records, made a lot of songs, played a lot of guitars, so I just trust myself, you know. I figure if I can’t do it by now, why I am even bothering to try?”