Welp, it stopped raining so I may as well follow through with this afternoon’s planned 30 minute (5.15k) drill run. However, I am spinning for 4 hours tomorrow as part of the Cycle for Strong Kids tomorrow at the Port Colbourne YMCA so I’m opting to keep it short and sweet with the ‘We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic‘ album by Foxygen.
This is the second officially released album by Californian experimental rock duo, released in 2013, and is absolutely jam packed with familiar sound cues and convincing ’60s and ’70s pop star mimicry.
Picking apart the blatant, intentional references to different classic songs that cycle verse-to-verse throughout the album is a fun game for record collector types; from the nod to the intro of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s‘ on album-opener ‘In the Darkness‘ to the bold-faced Dylan-isms of the incredible, big city lament ‘No Destruction‘. Bowie, Lou Reed, all eras of Mick Jagger, specific doo wop songs, and even moments of the Band; no oldies are safe from Foxygen’s pure-hearted appropriation. And then there’s ‘On Blue Mountain‘ which, oddly enough, is reminiscent of Presley’s ‘Suspicious Minds‘.
Maybe I was just high on endorphins.
In fact, in the exact same year that Scott McKenzie the singer of ‘San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)‘ decided to shuffle off this mortal coil, Foxygen delivers unto us the dandy Glockenspiel-packing ‘San Francisco‘, which both circumvents and dissects McKenzie’s tune and its many cousins of the era. “I left my love in San Francisco/(That’s okay, I was bored anyway)/I left my love in a field/(That’s okay, I was born in LA)” goes the lovely call-and-response chorus, slamming together the archetypal flower children of the 60s and the archetypal ADHD vapidity of our recent generations.
Another highlight, ‘Shuggie‘, manages to fit all the light bounce of the song’s namesake and the climbing choruses of ELO into it’s 3 minutes while still filling the tune with imagery of “rhinoceros-shaped earrings” and haunted parlors. Every nook and cranny of the record is loaded with their unflappable, brazen personalities. Foxygen takes “swagger,” that as-of-late misused adjective, back once and for all and totally flips pyramids old and new upside down.
When it stopped raining earlier, truthfully, I was disappointed. I had already conceded that I was going to have an “off day”, so when the guilt kicked in and I made up my mind I was going to go out, I was unconsciously determined to hate it but it a beautiful 17° out and I’m running in shorts and t-shirt and I’m still sweating. Of course, I’m sweating while running easy…but I digress.
The other treat was that this album, although I was a bit skeptical, was actually pretty awesome; the perfect nice weather running music for 30 minutes. At times, I was actually feeling good enough to pick up the pace a bit but then I’d have to remind myself that that wasn’t the point today and dial it back down again.
I might even have to hunt this out for the ‘ol vinyl collection some day.
Oh, and Allison…stick it.