Showing posts with label foxygen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label foxygen. Show all posts

Monday, January 23, 2017

video review: 'hang' by foxygen

Well, this was something of a disappointment... but hey, considering the last thing Foxygen dropped before this, I'm not that surprised.

Next up, Billboard BREAKDOWN... and I really don't have a lot of ideas where things are going to go, my schedule will probably be a little weird given the votes. In other words, stay tuned!

album review: 'hang' by foxygen

So as I think I've mentioned in passing a number of times on this show, I'm a big fan of going out to karaoke bars - and whenever I say this, I tend to get a lot of side-eye glances and comments of 'Wait, you're a music critic, how the hell could you stomach that?' Well, part of it comes from the privilege of living in Toronto and getting exposure to a ton of fantastic singers and genuine artists that come from a prolific arts scene - I imagine it's much the same in New York and L.A. - so on average the quality tends to be a little better. But at the same time it gave me an acute sense of perspective - many of these folks are incredible performers, they do this for a living far better than I ever will even at a karaoke bar, and despite my side project pretensions to making original music, for some of these folks it's their life, with karaoke just being an outlet for practice and letting out steam. I'm not going to sell myself that short - I'm a pretty good singer when I want to be - but at the end of the day even despite being a critic there's a difference between being a hardcore music fan with a penchant for showing off and an actual musician with poise and training, especially when it comes to the creative process of writing and performing.

I say all of this because when I started listening to early Foxygen albums, I got the immediate impression that this would probably be the sort of music I would make if I lacked the restraint or self-awareness to pull away and realize my own limitations. Because look, I love 70s rock, but that 2012 album Take The Kids Off Broadway was very much an example of loving the sound and style and textures but not really having a grasp on cohesion or composition. Now they definitely improved considerably on their next record We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic - an half-ironic title, given how much their style nakedly aped the 20th century, although I would seriously question in terms of songwriting how much capacity this band has for irony, even if I did think the overall writing felt tighter. But then came ...And Star Power, a double album a year later, diving back towards rougher, lo-fi territory and that same sense of cacophonous composition, and yet the splatter-painting style of writing didn't have the same energy or groove or momentum, to say nothing of some painfully redundant lyricism - you do not want to get me started on how painfully weak the 'concept' of this record feels, especially given how sloppy some of the recording and playing feels. Now granted, some have argued that it was representative of the duo's famously contentious relationship, but for as much as Foxygen idolized the 70s, you'd think they'd take a lesson from Fleetwood Mac when they made Rumours and not throw cohesion out the window. But hey, they managed to hold it together to pull together an album that they've called their 'California record', going bigger and grander than ever - so did it connect?