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Personal Record [VINYL]
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At a time when most female singer-songwriters perform as alter egos, Eleanor Friedberger is simply, refreshingly herself. And that s just the way her fans like it. Having spent the last decade fronting the indie-rock institution The Fiery Furnaces (currently on hiatus) with her brother Matthew, she emerged in 2011 as a formidable solo artist with Last Summer, a thoughtfully crafted tale of memory and place couched in the organic pop of her 70s idols. Instantly, Friedberger established herself as a modern-day heir to the tradition of Donovan, Todd Rundgren, Ronnie Lane, and their ilk: warm, nuanced, timeless songs. No gimmicks necessary. The title of Friedberger s sophomore album is Personal Record, and it is, in a sense. Personal, that is. But not personal in the way of, say, a coming-of-age record, or a diary about the past, which Last Summer was. Many of the songs seem to be about love, or love lost, but whether any of the experience is hers or someone else s, she isn t saying. It s not as specific a narrative this time, she says. There s a universality to it.
Top Customer Reviews
(I hope someone is checking on brother Michael's well-being from
time to time!) Eleanor Friedberger follows-up her 2011 solo album
'Last Summer' with yet another collection of idiosyncratic songs.
In my review of her last recording I used the word "workmanlike"
(workwomanlike if you like....) to describe her compositional style;
the twelve numbers which make up 'Personal Record' continue to plow
a not dissimilar furrow. The beats are foursquare, the arrangements
refreshingly uncluttered and the melodies simple but effective but it is
in Ms Friedberger's lyrics that we find that which is most original about
her. Personal, fragile and quirky she knows how to spin a good yarn.
'Echo Or Encore' is an especially affecting example; a gently lilting
Latin invention featuring a clunky upright piano and dour double-bass
arrangement and words which achieve a curiously haunting and haunted quality.
'Stare At The Sun', with its driving beat and jangly electric guitar seems
to have been touched by the spirit of The Velvet Underground; 'When I Knew'
rattles along in a nicely awkward way and the delightful fifties-nuanced
'Other Boys' (her finest moment by far) delivers pathos by the bucket load.
A personal and personable record.
Adult humour. Lots of irony. Some suprises and not all 'heterosexual'.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Stylistically, this LP is great mixture of 70's radio hits (Fleetwood Mac, Harry Nilsson, Carly Simon, Warren Zevon), power pop (Cheap Trick, Shoes) and current indie rock (New Pornographers, Spoon). It shifts incredibly between these genres effortlessly.
Favorite songs: I'll Never Be Happy Again, When I Knew, Stare At The Sun & Other Boys
I've seen her twice live and she's just awesome. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Musically, I found this album to be a real treat. Plenty of catchy, sunshiney pop songs with hooks galore. I also like Friedberger's voice. She reminds me a lot of early 80s Carlene Carter, but without the country garnishes. To my ears, I don't hear any Carly Simon or Carole King influences, nor does it all sound like some sort of retro-1970s tribute. Perhaps those are all influences, but Friedberger has distilled them and put them through a contemporary musical prism. The result: a talented recording artist making honest, well-crafted pop songs. And that's something that is sorely needed in this sterile, digitized era.