My progression of listening to Fleet Foxes new album Crack-Up
Current album rankings: Fleet Foxes EP: [8/10] Helplessness Blues: [9.8/10] Two released Crack-Up songs: [7.5/10]
1st listen: ……………ok. really, that’s it huh? ok then. [6/10] 2nd listen: there definitely were a few good things in there but… i mean it totally is them and their sound but… different in a new way and its just… ok? i guess. 3rd listen: …alright this isn’t as good as their first two albums and im a bit disappointed at the structure of the whole product compared to them? maybe if i listen more… … 10th listen: ok ok ok. hold up. hold the fucking phone. i understand that new sound more… that was really interesting. thats… that’s something. and its good. [7/10] … 20th listen: …there’s… there’s something hidden in the mix here… its really good. theres layers of great stuff here, new stuff i hear with each listen. the melodies make sense in the context of the whole album, the flow is very much there and i am aware of how tasty it is. i was blind but now i see. this album is delicious. [8/10] … 30th listen: oh my god. the structure was always there, every song fits in its own neat place and has its own brilliant hook that strings the whole album together, the melodies of each song have little nuances of genius that linger in your subconscious, seasons your thoughts, accents your surroundings as you go about your day. holy shit…. this is very good material. [8.5/10] … 40th listen: i get it all now fuck fuck fuck [9/10]
Very proud to be published in this week’s Sunday The New York Times photographing some great dudes I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a for over 10 years who still blow my mind on every record. The Fleet Foxes photographed in Seattle, WA.
Speaking as a Straight White Male music listener, I’d say, generally speaking, that the Straight White Male is the last voice of “cultural relevance” that I’m actively looking to, or sympathetic to, in this particular cultural moment. Just, who cares, you know? This obviously creates a problem for the Straight White Male artist who still desires to make relevant art - do you attempt to gentrify the landscape, White Savior yourself, and demand through inference or testimony that your voice is that of a leader for these times, when your phenotype is culturally inert if not malignant, and that even presuming to have something genuinely important to add is arguably an invocation of privilege? This approach seems like a fool’s errand to me. I instead mostly took the tack that I was using my particular set of cultivated talents to make a Use Object, something useful, a balm, something experientially or aesthetically moving, a reprieve. If you think I should be trying to muscle my way into a position of cultural relevance that I don’t deserve, in a culture that is currently filled with far more interesting and sympathetic perspectives than that of the Straight White Male, then I can’t really help you, because I am a little too self aware to have tried to do that.
I really like Robin Pecknold. This should be somewhat apparent by now, but he really seems like a very good human. Like hes doing the human thing well. He has done some of the coolest promotion for fleet foxes new album that directly engages fans and is more to their benefit than any band ive seen; for example: he did several ig lives where he sang to his fans (multiple times and for awhile), answered questions and responded to comments as they popped up, was vulnerable and real. He gave away 20 test pressings of the album to the most frequent commenters on his ig. He offered invites to the album listening parties (which he went to and did q&as!) to those people who had preordered the album. He has conducted at least two podcast interviews where he goes in depth into his life and music making process. He regularly responds to fans questions and comments on his ig. He annotated the lyrics to his songs on genius and has so far responded to one early review of his album with integrity and class when it
deserved much less. He has done all this while maintaining a genuine appearance of being incredibly humbled that anyone is interested in an album from his band after leaving at the height of their popularity and returning more than five years later to a very different music climate. And he did that to check his authenticity and ensure he was making music that was valuable to make. For me he has moved to the top of my list of artists that are genuinely worth paying attention to.
“I played an Elliott Smith song in the school talent show that year… and lost to the sexy dancers. When he died, I printed out “Elliott Smith R.I.P.” and handed it to everyone at school to have them put it in their yearbook or on the cover of their binders.”