28 March 2012 Stuff We Like
Eleanor Friedberger - Last Summer
I didn't hear Last Summer until the fall of last year. It sounded great then, but as the weather continues to warm here in Brooklyn, it's returned to my rotation with a new seasonal vigor. And as I dream of my first summer living in the city, I can only hope it resembles the one Eleanor describes on her first solo LP. Don't worry- bicycles, photographs, beaches, and trains all make appearances. Still, the album is more than bohemian pastiche. Last Summer isn't all breezes and sunshine: see the off-kilter piano-pop of "Inn of the Seventh Ray", the pained nostalgia of "Heaven", or the stormy surge of "Owl's Head Park" (a personal favorite).
In fact, for what is ostensively an album built for the season, Last Summer retains a surprisingly firm grasp on the real details of a life well lived. Disappointments, unrealized hopes, broken relationships, and the accompanying liminal states are present throughout. The emotional core of the album raises the stakes- more than a pretty picture, Ms. Friedberger builds a world you can live in. Come this summer, you may find it hard to convince yourself that it'll be better outside.
– Jeffrey Woldan