It's almost become a tradition every few weeks when I venture down to South Jersey, I take a ride with my old man, hijack his car's unnecessarily exquisite soundsystem, and give the 65-year-old a taste of today's music. Well, to be completely honest, I try and cater to his tastes. For example, the dude loves Father John Misty's Fear Fun. In my most recent trip, I thought I'd conduct a quick experiment. A particular album that I grew quite keen of over the winter holiday, Foxygen's We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic, contains a marvelous array of sounds from the kaleidoscopic years my father's youth. So I decided to get his feel for the album, without, of course, letting him know who it was. Obviously, with his aging comes a bit of senility as well as a dwindling sense of sound (the guy went to A LOT of awesomely loud concerts), so let us not be a judge of him.
So I popped the CD in...
"Who is this? McCartney?! Wait. No. It's the Stones. That's gotta be Mick! Is that Lou Reed? Kid, you know I'm not a big fan of the Velvet Underground..."
Rather than risk triggering a long-dormant psychedelic dosage while the old man was behind the wheel (he was carrying precious cargo), I explained that the music he was hearing was the product of two guys around my age.
This is quickly becoming a fun game when listening to We Are The 21st Century.... What you're experiencing is a masterfully produced, 9-track adventure on Doctor Who's TARDIS back to one of the most experimental periods in music history. The duo of Jonathan Rado and Sam France dose you with a collective sampling of their influences/ers, but they manage to do so without being burdensome with nostalgia. Perhaps it's because we've become so ingrained in the sounds being released by current leaders of pop/indie/whatever, that Foxygen's travel into the past acts a refreshing break from it all, giving it a "new" appeal.
The album's primary single, "Shuggie" is a perfect example of this freeing sentimentality. Guided by the fluctuation of classic percussive rhythm and fluttery guitar strings, we're led in and out through the song's hooks - it's a musical marathon that runs just over three minutes.
We Are The 21st Century... certainly isn't the most original album we've heard lately, but it's definitely an accessible and revitalizing trip we suggest you take. And according to Papa Den (dad's famous moniker), it's going to be tough to follow this one up.
Watch the official music video for "Shuggie."