Album of the Week: Fleet Foxes, 'Shore'

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Fleet Foxes, 'Shore'
Fleet Foxes, 'Shore,' was released on Sept. 22, 2020, on the Autumnal Equinox. (Anti/Epitaph)
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Your Album of the Week is Fleet Foxes' new album, Shore. A surprise release for their fans, Fleet Foxes' sixth studio album is one of the perfect headphone listens of the past year. As lead songwriter and singer Robin Pecknold described in an interview with The Current's Mary Lucia, Shore was half finished prior to the pandemic, and it took on a new meaning for Pecknold as he confronted the challenges of being isolated and off the road.

Instead of shelving the album, he chose to push forward for the love of writing and recording music.

Interview Highlight

MARY LUCIA: The translation of it for me is that it just sounds like you're in love with music, and that's what you're writing about. Like, "I'm in love with music! That's my relationship that I'm writing about."

ROBIN PECKNOLD:That's entirely true.

I think the last few months of working on this — June, July, August — that was the most kind of charmed and magic recording period I've ever had, and I've never felt that kind of lovestruck by just working on music and having ideas come to you and having them work, and just being kind of back. And knowing that when it came out, it wasn't going to be tied to some big tour.

Right!

Those things just came to seem like such creative blessings to me, that I did really work that into the lyrics: this kind of love of music and kind of you know, feeling saved by music in a lot of ways, and I was so lucky to have that to be going through that experience in those months, you know?

And when it became apparent that you weren't going to have to go out on tour with these songs, did it almost make the songwriting feel a little bit more intimate because I know a lot of people that when they're writing their tunes and making a record, they're thinking about the live experience, and it kind of pushes some people to make some things a little bit bigger than they would normally do, and I just wonder if it had the inverse effect on you.

Yeah, that's a great point, because that's totally true. I think that, you know, I mean, it's sort of ironic because some of the songs were written from the ground up with the idea that they would be fun to play live with consistent drum parts and, you know, kind of "groovier" songs for lack of a better word.

But then everything that got finished in July, August, musically, all that stuff ended up a lot smaller than how I was demo-ing it before.

Like the song, "I'm Not My Season," before it was kind of this grand — like, I was singing it super high and kind of loud, and it was this, like, operatic, like, I don't know, kind of over-the-top musical-type song, and it was never really, like, working, and I never had the lyrics for it. But then once I was like, "Oh yeah, this isn't going to be on tour," and then I just dropped the key like six semitones! And then I was like, "This is going to be listened to only in intimate environments for the next two years," so I can just make this an intimate song, and then the lyrics flowed very easily once that conclusion was reached.

Right.

And so you're totally right. There were definitely things on the album that got… some things didn't because they just were what they were, and they were far enough along. But then some things got scaled back to their betterment, for sure.

And you know, it's as old as time, people will always want to interpret and figure out, you know, "What are you singing about, exactly?" Like, "What does this exactly mean?" And it kind of made me think because you're sort of writing about being in love with music, and yet I think of a lot of artists who were writing songs that sort of appeared as love songs but they were maybe love songs to drugs. You know, like heroin; you know, and it's always so interesting to me that people's need to know — but in your case, and I think with this record, I think, "I get it."

Yeah, I'm glad it's coming across that way. I think that there are no love letters to drugs on this album, I don't think. But music is like the best drug of all. I mean, you're making a song and you're kind of making, you're kind of making a drug.

Yeah.

You're making this thing that's going to induce this effect, and it wears off after a while and then you have to make another one.

But really, it's not that different than, I don't know, synthesizing some new compound. I don't do drugs, so I don't know, but that's what it's always been for me, is my drugs. Yeah.

External Link

Fleet Foxes - official site

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  • Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes
    Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes. (Emily Johnston)