This is five years old now. The fact that it is still so misunderstood is a little frustrating. I hope by the time it hits ten years old, people will give it the respect it deserves. I love this thing, and I have spent years digging deeper and deeper into it only to uncover something truly special inside of something I already knew I loved a lot. If you're reading this just going through the pages for their albums, trying to find a place to start or get a general idea of their discography, this is their best work. I love these guys, ok, but they have like two albums that are great--this one and Take the Kids off Broadway. The rest range from good to bad.

Following Foxygen's third and fourth full-length albums We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic & ...And Star Power, as is customary, the band completely overhaul their sound as well as their visual aesthetic. This is part of a meta-narrative that Foxygen--Sam France & Jonathan Rado--have gone on record to discuss at length, which is that We are the 21st... and ...And Star Power are, if I am understanding correctly, supposed to be something akin to a continuing series of concept albums? I guess it can be inferred from the way the two titles connect with one another, which, after listening to this band for the past five or six years, I only now notice--wow! Silly me! But I digress. They follow the career, in a way not dissimilar to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, both in presentation as well as execution (see: not as cohesively as the artists would maybe like you to believe, but that's ok), from a band caught up in the rush of 60s psychedelia to their commercial success leading to a follow-up album which is contextualized by the band, as Sam France put it, "doing a lot of drugs and having a lot of money to fuck around in the studio," or something to that effect. Which is cool and all, but ...And Star Power sucked. Like, really bad. There were a few good tracks, but it was just too long and had little-to-no focus. I hate 70s Anglo rock, so maybe that impacts my view of it, sure, but it seems to me, both as an outsider and from what I can understand from those who DO like that kind of stuff, that even in their attempt to try and replicate the kind of drugged-out experimentation of the era, they fall short.

Ok, so that's kind of a bummer. What's next?

Enter Hang. Now, I think Hang was initially envisioned very, very differently than what it ended up being. Something tells me that the critical and commercial failure of ...And Star Power made France and Rado have to look at their work & look at themselves as songwriters critically and reconsider what exactly it is that they value from Foxygen as a collaborative effort. Again, this is only my postulation, but it is for that reason I think it may have been planned to be connected in some way with those last two albums, only for that idea to later be abandoned. In what way would they have connected? Maybe it would have been an 80s styled album, who knows?

Maybe it would have followed this washed-up band doing increasingly weird shit, not for the sake of experimentation and progressing the sound or possibilities within music, as they used to do (or at least as they thought they did, both in the context of the fictional band and the real band), but just because they can (a la Paul McCartney. Sorry, Beatles comparisons are sometimes just TOO easy to make between them). In any case, all I can really tell you is that the last track on ...And Star Power is called "Hang." Which is about as smoking gun as you can get, I would imagine. So, here we are.

What happened? Well, the meta-narrative seems to be taking a break. There are two choices being made that are of the absolutely paramount in the discussion of the transition from their last two albums to this one. First off, they completely abandon their MO regarding composition; before, songs were pastiches of the instrumentation and production choices of their respective eras, with the ultimate "goal" being to present these two albums as pieces of work that COULD have, in some alternate reality, been released in the 60s and 70s by this aforementioned fictional band. Hang, you see, does not advance the clock by a decade: it goes back to the 40s. Which, quite honestly, it really does not even stay consistent in doing--which, again, is fine! But this time, I think the band are aware of the lack of that cohesion, maybe realizing that it was just inherently too hard or too cumbersome to do convincingly, or maybe they just stopped caring.

Regardless, they have this idea of making an album from the 40s, yes, but they also decide to make, what they refer to on multiple occasions to as "The LA Album."

Ah, Los Angeles. New Yorkers hate you, Southerners hate you, people who come as a tourist tend to walk away hating you (What a thought!), and hell, Angelinos (God, does anyone even use this demonym?) even hate the influx of influencers and internet celebrities who talk shit on LA after moving from Somewhereville, Somewherestate, USA and increasing the rent. It's like a free-for-all.

Ok, I gotta admit this right here. I live in Southern California. Not LA, nor LA County, mind you, but within a close enough proximity that going there once a week is expensive, but if money was not an issue, it would not only be doable but relatively painless. You know, most days. You never really know with LA traffic.

Second--alongside the meta-narrative and its production, Foxygen elect to change their songwriting approach. For the past two albums, their song structures have been relatively trad. They are not doing that again. They, instead, elect to revisit their frenzied approach to songwriting, emblematic of Take the Kids off Broadway, the album which preceded We Are etc etc. and was their major label debut with Jagjaguwar. That album does not outright declare itself to be representative of a decade, nor does it follow the narrative of the fictional band, which, from now on, for simplicity's sake, I will be calling Meta-Foxygen. Cool? Alright. So like I was saying, in that album, every single track constantly switches between different stylistic influences, going from a Bowie riff to a Rolling Stones chorus to another verse much more akin to The Who within the same three-minute song. The production is coated with white noise generators that blare in your ear and whizz off into the distance, tape effects that provide something comparable in effect to masking tape or wax over the absolute pandemonium of the instrumentals. The takes, particularly of the vocals, at times sound like they are melting.

Sometimes the instrumentation is rhythmically, very clearly at that, just not together. And it was glorious.

There are a few compromises that are made, though. The chaotic, lo-fi mix is gone. The frantic switches in style are much more methodical, done less frequently, but now comparable to the process of writing an essay. Just like you say "but" to make it clear you are pivoting your focus away from the rhetoric line of analysis for some important reason, these switches are not done

without thematic or narrative purpose; the word "compromises" carries a certain connotative weight that I am appreciative of, but these ultimately small corrections are less the result of a group that has to bargain with itself for its prolonged existence with the hope that, somehow, someway, it will eventually manifest in something--anything, really--that can pass as good enough to sell, and more the re-evaluation of what the band now values in their own music, what they now value in their artistic expression; just as they had departed from the approach of their last two albums, they fine tune the old one. Rough edges have been sanded to a fine smoothness--an astuteness that represents the band's growth as songwriters.

There is a sad irony in that, isn't there? Take the Kids off Broadway and Hang have always felt more connected meta-narratively, stemming from their similarity in artistic ethos, than the two albums for which this cohesion was actually intended.

So, how does the album sound?

Well, there's multiple different eras going into the kind of production style. They are absolutely, to some extent, inspired, maybe even in an underlying way, by 40s music, sure. Particularly Hollywood soundtracks of the era. But it's not just the 40s, it's the 20s with Charleston and swing. it's the 30s with big band. It's the late 50s and 60s with the rise of LA pop country. It's the late 60s and early 70s with pop soul and hard blues. There's tap dancing, there's harpsichord, there's orchestral arrangements to last you a lifetime. The production constantly rides this fine line between sounding just like it should be from the 60s, probably the most accurate if not gorgeous production work Foxygen would have ever done, but it's never to a fault. Things aren't hard panned, for one. They recorded the master track of it on 1/2" tape, which absolutely does wonders for the body and warmth of the project that would have just been lost, at least a little bit, if it were actually recorded and released in the 60s, never mind the 40s. In that sense, it's working with a win-win situation right out the gates. There's the modern technological advancements in recording since the 60s, yes, but there's also the vintage analog mixing and mastering hardware available at the band's disposal--the best of both worlds! Can you imagine they put this out in the 40s? Man, that would be nuts. They would be time travelers or something. Anyway, this might just be the most beautifully produced baroque/chamber pop album, ever. Full stop. Fighting words? Maybe. Send me something that sounds better, though. Really! I love baroque pop, but let's be real here. It sounds beautiful. Some, in fact, a large portion of people, would argue it sounds TOO beautiful, even.

Ok, so is this the most overproduced album ever? So many people keep saying that. What's up with that?

Getting into the meat and potatoes of the discussion--the content of the album. The most frustrating part in all of this, and practically the main reason I'm even writing this, is that Foxygen are doing practically everything short of beating you over the head with a mallet to convey that there is a satire, that the glitz and the camp are just gilding on an album which is much, much darker than the people who do not really care to engage with it beyond a surface-level sonic and thematic critique before moving on would have you believe. This album is sad, man. I mean,

like, thematically it's sad. But also, yeah, people's misunderstanding of it is sad, too. Ok. Let's get into this.

Follow the Leader is a cute track. I don't really care to say much on style or influences on the album, but this song, funnily enough, is the only one that doesn't have any sort of narrative connection to the rest of the album. It was envisioned as the upbeat single to get people listening, so I guess I get it. It's fun! The production is absolutely nuts. The analog effects do wonders, it's especially apparent towards the latter half of the song... the instrumental bridge with the string section going crazy! I would try and talk about... anything... in the music video, but there's nothing. And... moving on.

Avalon is named for a bar that resides in the heart in Hollywood. How is it the land of dreams? What are the gardens of Avalon? Well, we'll come back to this later. It's just gonna be like that, stick with me. But for now, I can point out two interesting things. In the music video, Sam France wears a shirt with red flowers on it, and the beginning of the "fake" music video within the music video... huh, Foxygen really likes to play with meta-narration, huh? what's up with that? Anyway, so, at the beginning of the fake music video, it is shot in a garden. Beyond that, I guess I can point out the line "Take this candelabra for some scenes." We'll come back to this stuff later, trust me.

Mrs. Adams is another track I don't have much to say, mainly because it's too confusiong--but there are a couple of things I ought to point out. The song starts out with "Here I am In this Hollywood bar," which I can only assume to be Avalon. which is that the song (I think) depicts the death of a woman named, you guessed it, Mrs. Adams, who (I think) hangs herself. This will be... well, it'll be mentioned.

Ahhhh, America. Yeah, ok, this is where things will start to unfold. Which is funny, cause the first line in the song, which I swear is important, I'm not joking, the first line is "Merry Christmas, from the pines." Now, that's like a dad joke, right? Pines as in the last name Pines, you know, the line is structured like a Christmas card you might get, "Merry Christmas from the Pine Family" or whatever, but also, haha, pine trees, Christmas. Whatever. I'll revisit that. I'm serious. Then, there's the line "Just another wish, just another dream, just another witch to comfort you when you're dying." Ok. So, the cool thing about "America," is that it's absolutely meant to be the key to understanding that, 1. Oh, this isn't just kitschy Hollywood music and 2. Oh, this is satire.

Right? You get it. This song is probably the most on-the-nose of them all.

As an aside, I think now is the best time to say this--France and Rado have gone on record to say that they consider the two sides of the album, the first side ending with America and the second side beginning with On Lankershim, to essentially be two different albums. Not narratively, mind you, tonally. It's a story told in two acts. It begins with an overture, Avalon is the rising action, Mrs. Adams is the conflict which leads to the climax of America, ending off act 1.

We'll get to act 2 later.

So, if you haven't figured it out yet, the "wish" and the "dream" which are also personified as a "witch" who "comforts you" as you "die" is... the American dream! What is the witch? Well, we'll get to that in a minute. The next line of significance, "If you're already there, you're already dead, if you're living in America" is somehow even more on-the-nose, which is why I am simply amazed that no one seems to have caught onto any of this. But what does he mean by death? A literal death? Well, I don't think so. I live here, and I'm not dead. In any case, the next line, "Our heroes aren't brave, they've just got nothing to lose, they're all living in America" is, to me, social commentary on the armed forces and how the military industrial complex preys on those in impoverished communities with the promise of at least some level of stability provided through healthcare and other benefits. I think it's a really poignant line, it's kind of a diversion from the argument he's making, and it's not like, I guess, entirely original or new here or anything, but I do really like it, I do really like how it's structured and how it continues the last line's approach in the clouded metaphor regarding death, you could imply they have nothing to lose because... they're already dead! But what killed them? Yeah, yeah. Hold on. The last line in the song, and probably my favorite in the album, is "And the movie girl said, 'You're wanted on set!' But you only play yourself when you're in Hollywood," which is like. Ok. Now you're saying something! It's a fucking brilliant line, an incredibly loaded triple entendre; ...And now I can finally unload a lot of this stuff! The American dream is conveyed in this song initially as being more, I don't know, benevolent. It's a wish! It's a dream. A wish, however, is already connotatively implying the impossibility of achieving it without some sort of divine intervention.

How would you get this divine intervention? The witch! Oh! so, who is the witch? Well, I think they probably used a witch to fit into the whole "Hollywood" schtick, you know, like the Wizard of Oz or whatever, Wicked Witch of the West, you get it. But the process that is being described, and, by proxy, the figure he is describing, is Mephistopheles. Ok, who is that? That's the devil in the Faust legend, the Faustian bargain stuff. You know, you make a deal with the devil! You sell your morality or spirit for financial gain. That's what kills you--if you're already in America, if you're already chasing the American dream, if you're chasing fame and fortune in Hollywood, then you've already sold your soul. You are a dead man walking. Our heroes--war heroes--aren't brave, they have nothing to lose! They have nothing to lose because they sold their soul for profit, which manifests itself not only by exploiting lower income communities but also through manufacturing consent for war and through compliance if not outright participation. All of this is to say, Sam France, who does all the lead vocals on the album, is fucking tearing into the power structures of the United States. If we go back to Avalon, now, and look at the first line

again--"They say that Avalon's the land of dreams," or the constant referring to a supposed "Gardens of Avalon," there's a more cohesive narrative maybe going on. Avalon is a synecdoche for Hollywood. What are the gardens? I'll come back to that later. Which leads us right back to the last line in America. I mean, there's the literal--actors playing roles, right?

Crazy. And then there's the second meaning, which is that the chasing of fame is

self-destructive. But there's even a third subtext to it, which is the alienation that results from living in a heavily urbanized era if not the rat race of trying to achieve fame. The line seems to suggest that it gets to the point where there is a fundamental disconnect and difference between being yourself, which comes naturally and without thought, and playing the role of yourself, which takes a nonzero amount of effort. It's really, really brilliant. Lastly, this may seem a bit unrelated, but trust me, it is connected. The single cover of this song has the two band

members standing in a forest clearing, surrounded by trees and nature and such. We'll talk on that more in a bit.

Act 2. It begins with On Lankershim. Despite the fact that this is the second act, where this is supposed to be intense and sad and brooding until the conclusion or whatever, this song may initially seem outwardly upbeat. Well... it's not. Especially not narratively. But, remember. This is a story told in two acts, so there needs to be a bit of a lowering of the tension at the beginning. So, that's where that stems from. At least I believe it to be. We are going to look at the music video of this. Yes, it's important. But let's start with the fifth and sixth lines in the song. "Oh, I can see flamingo trees of envy, locked upon the poles of death for you." Uh, ok. This, for a long time, just like, completely stumped me. What the hell does any of this mean? Ok, well, let's look at the music video. Sam France starts off the video by standing on his lawn, and then Avalon can be heard playing from presumably his car. Later, he hides under a lamp (1:05) and then under some trees (1:10). In the shot, you can see pine trees and palm trees. Last song talked about pines. Have we talked about palms? Could the "flamingo trees of envy" be referring to palm trees? I mean, when you think of like, I dunno, that kind of kitschy beach aesthetic, you think of flamingos and palm trees. But I guess it's not certain. There are actual flamingo trees, after all. But--at 1:18, when that line, "I can see flamingo trees of envy," is said, Sam France is looking behind his car, and he is looking directly at palm trees. When I saw this, I could not believe it.

Last note of importance, at 1:24, when the line "Locked upon the poles of death for you," the Hollywood sign can be seen prominently in the background. Now, I think there's two ways to go about interpreting this, and honestly they might both be right. The flamingo trees of envy, those are palm trees. Why are they of envy? Well, there are a lot of palm trees in LA and in Hollywood. In my opinion, the envy stems from the endemic competition to be famous, to get the roles you want, to "make it." They are all over Hollywood, and the metaphor seems to want to extend to the idea that they are like monuments to the self-destructive tendencies of people to chase fame, but also the plasticine fantasy which is presented to the outside world. Again, palm trees and their associations with flamingos is one of pure kitschy Americana. Now, the next part--locked upon the poles of death for you. Now, what I know for certain is that what is being described is that the palm trees function as poles that link a fence to keep something

out--or something in. And here's where the diverging theories lie. People have palm trees on their lawn, hell, when Sam France stands on his front lawn you can see a palm tree on his lawn. The "poles of death for you" first makes me think of St. Peter's Gate, the Pearly White Gates. Is it a metaphor in which the hypercompetitive and psychologically draining attitude of trying to make it as someone in Hollywood, where you'll face opposition every step of the way, either from your contemporaries or people higher up than you, is represented as palm trees which exist to fence you out from success? Or, is it the opposite? Remember, when the line is said in the music video, you can see the Hollywood sign... is Hollywood not blocking you out, but forcing you in? Is the death connected to the same deal with the devil discussed in America?

Probably! Lankershim Blvd is a pretty notable street in Hollywood, in case you didn't know. Just as an aside. Anyway, now we can kind of... look at some other parts of the song. First line or two, "And it all but seems my lifetime dreams have ended. And I know some people hope they won't come true." This, to me, seems like a clear manifestation of that same kind of destructive jealousy that might be characterized through a "flamingo tree of envy." This song, to me, right...

there's a lot of parts that are just kind of, input about Sam France's life, I imagine. But there's this, and there's a later part--this is something of a direct continuation from America. At least narratively. Duh! Well, my point is, right... the whole, "You only play yourself when you're in Hollywood," deal, right? That seems to be compounded with the previous assessment of some sort of entrapment in the last verse of the song, which goes as follows--"Well, you spent time trying to make it, But you spent your money getting high, Well I know can make it back 'cause I'm only 25 And my friend, she's only 20, And she's an actress and so far She said, you know, she said, she can get me parts." Sam France, or at least the character he is playing, seems to be in denial & speaking to someone who has given up or walked away from their dream of "making it." This person who gave up their dream, I'll call them Pam, just to make it easy on myself, seems to have been trying to talk Sam out of continuing his increasingly desperate attempts to land a role in Hollywood, only for Sam to belittle Pam by saying that the reason they never made it was because they wasted their time doing drugs, and then going on to insist that he is only 25, and that therefore, he still has a chance at success--which, as the audience, we are expected to know is probably too late--his friend, who is only 20 and getting roles, is supposedly going to get him a part in some sort of project. But even he seems to be kind of unsure or insecure of this, considering he repeats and stutters this declaration. Sam is so set on his dreams of making it, which are no longer feasible, that he is willing to insult someone who simply wants to help him; he has embodied the flamingo tree of envy. He is the epitome of the self-destructive, envious person who has sold their soul to seek fame.

Upon a Hill. man, what a performance. I don't know what to make of it. I think at this point in the album, the metaphors are completely set up. They're just popping them off, one right after the other. It's like he's speaking in code. So, let's do what we can. I'll also look at the music video for this one. First and foremost--the title. It's a reference to John Winthrop and his famous "city upon a hill" sermon, in which he professes that America must be a beacon of democracy for those around the world. This is usually taught as a sort of ideological starting point for American exceptionalism. Next, the beginning of the music video. He holds out his glasses in an allusion to Hamlet. I might have to go back a bit, right, to On Lankershim. That song says, numerous times, "If somebody loves you and you can't figure it out, just walk away." Quite honestly, I have no clue regarding the correlation to the rest of the album, but this is like the only other song in which love is mentioned like that. Anyway, I think this song can be interpreted in two ways. Both of these could be wrong. I have no clue. Either Sam France is performing in some sort of play and he is describing the play, or he is having some sort of intense revelation. Is he doing drugs? Maybe! Could be. Or, has he "walked away" after not being able to figure out how to react to the information that someone loves him. Or, you know what? It could just be an extended metaphor that exists in relation to American exceptionalism. Just wanted to get that out there. If I had to take a guess, I'd say it's mainly the American exceptionalism extended metaphor, with some of the other three scenarios sprinkled in. So I will analyze it as such, but keep in mind this is just my guess. "I sit upon a hill And through the windowsill, she slowly sings a song for me And in her eyes, she hands me my disguise And served upon a plate, my heart would slowly rot and die and just be buried in the trees." Again, analyzing this from the perspective of an extended metaphor, I would say "she" is the return of the witch, the one who comforts you when you are dying. "The disguise" that's "served upon a plate" is referring to a train of thought similar to the

last line in "America," the one where you only play yourself in Hollywood, right? So, it's the literal costume you might wear to act as a character, but it's also referring to the disguise of yourself, the kind of alienation faced through chasing wealth and fame. The fact that it's "served upon a plate," I don't know, I feel like that is supposed to mean, like, it's served upon a silver platter?

Referring to a kind of entitlement--the destructive tendency that Hollywood creates in people? The song she sings, ok, so she's a witch, right, you're making a deal with the devil. But I think she's supposed to also be a kind of stand-in for Hollywood itself? The song is like a Siren song, pulling him in. But in relation to the original American exceptionalism metaphor, it's not just about him. It's about the exportation and glamourization of our culture internationally; it's about cultural imperialism. She only comforts you as you die to continue to use you. Sam's heart slowly rots and dies, as he's accepted the offer and completed his end of the Faustian bargain. But... I don't know what the trees have to do with any of it. So many trees! This album bring up trees so much. Pines, flamingo trees, or, you know, palm trees? Later we'll see another plant, too, and then there's the garden. The hill, I think, in connection with the metaphor of American exceptionalism, represents America itself. Well, duh. Yeah, I just had to point that out. Skipping ahead a little bit to verse 2, which starts with "And if our love shall die Throw our souls up in the sky and candelabra in the sea Sing a song for me And won't it be so fine To just be speaking with out minds And just be laughing at the trees'' Now, because of the subsequent line in which it suggests throwing the candelabra, the one that was mentioned in Avalon and shown in its music video, I can only assume that "our love" has to do with Avalon's garden of love. And regarding the garden of love, which is clearly supposed to invoke the Garden of Eden, you can infer that Hollywood, of which Avalon is a synecdoche for, is supposed to be the garden of love. And just like the Garden of Eden was gated, those flamingo trees of envy are the fencing for Hollywood. Going back to the music video for a brief moment, it makes prominent use of several puppets. One that looks like an ant, one that looks like an old person, one that looks evil whose eyes are glowing red. On the whole, the music video prominently features the color red. Red candles, red lighting, red liquids. Also, there is a skeleton that sits in the corner on a park bench. Not sure why? In any case, I have zero idea what it means to throw your soul up in the sky and candelabra in the sea. Is he referring to the process of selling your soul as throwing it? No clue. As for the candelabra, I just don't get its purpose. It's mentioned like three times. By speaking with their minds, does he mean, like, being able to understand each other's body language?

Laughing at the trees, though--not sure what's up with these trees. Is he laughing because his heart had rotten and been buried there? Anyway, last part of the song, "Oh, the hills roll down And they silence every living creature's sound While flamingos dance on spaceships with black fire in their mouths Sing a song for me If you see it then just sing a song for me." Again, next to no clue what's going on here, really, but I'll do my best to interpret it. The hills rolling down in context to the extended metaphor refers to the process of cultural imperialism, which "silences" (kills) all the creatures, e.g. people from different countries, by spreading a glamourized image of America that is simply not true, but influences their identities as a means of trying to look like the fake America people in different countries see on TV. Which is what happens, like, a lot! The flamingos dancing on spaceships, though, I think in this particular context, the flamingoes are either a metaphor for the bourgeoisie, where they are free from the consequences of the collapse of the garden of love and rolling down of the hills and leaving those they have exploited and trapped in the garden to fend for themselves, but the black fire is lost on me. To revisit the

music video, towards the latter half of the song, at 0:54, a big bottle labelled "sanguine delight" can be seen. At 1:18, an American flag can be seen tattered and ripped, which may support the extended metaphor of the collapse of the American state. At 1:28, Sam France, during the line "sing a song for me," is holding a human skull and looking down. And at 1:32, while the line "if you see it then sing a song for me" is playing, Sam France pours the bottle of sanguine delight on the brain. If my interpretation of the collapse of the country is correct, then I'd have to say "sanguine delight," ergo some sort of substance that makes you positive or optimistic in the face of uncertainty, what, is that a drug metaphor? Anyway, this song is fucking nuts. I am just guessing for most of it. I have no clue.

Trauma is a much simpler song to dive into, if not for the fact it repeats the same lines a lot. Opening with the line, "For all you people who confuse and abuse Be gone from your parapets into the fire," a parapet being the wall that extends slightly above the roof of a building, usually associated with castles, I can only assume he is talking about the bourgeoisie, or people in positions of power. In context to the rest of the album, this would be, I don't know, the flamingoes? The witch? Either way, he's telling them to jump off a building and into the fire, either Hell of just, like, death, I suppose. Later, towards the end of the song, Sam says "Remember when we used to speak between the stars?And I see you with flamingos in the yard" with the outro vocals being "In the cool ocean Cool ocean Cool ocean," I can totally get that these are calling back to Upon a Hill, but I have zero idea what it's trying to say.

Lastly is Rise Up. "Rise up, see for yourself You got to pull yourself up From the fires of Hell [...] And when the city spits itself out into that big ocean The wonderful wisdom of thee." I think the city that's being spit out is just LA, but God damn I have no clue. This song is a lot more direct than anything else before it, but still. It's in too deep. I might just be overthinking it. As for having to pull yourself from the fires of Hell, I think it's something you can take at face value. The song touches on general advice, waking up early, taking care of yourself... and to "follow your own heart, if nothing else And listen to your own dreams, nobody else's will do." In a weird way, as a climax, the song is a bit anticlimactic in that sense. It's very sweet, though... very sentimental... I feel like I'm missing a lot but to have this dense lyricism be concluded with be yourself :) makes me weirdly happy.. "Quite a few shall wonder, very few shall know Everybody wants to change the world Everybody wonders where the red fern grows Everybody wants to save their souls," the red fern is of course a reference to.. well, Where the Red Fern Grows. But this isn't even the first time a red fern has shown up. I think what he's getting at is to focus on yourself, there's no point in spending so much time worrying about things you might never know the answer to & spending so much energy on things that may not be right for you... and the album ends on the lines "Sing a song for love, sing a song for love It's not hard to tell it's Christmas at the Flamingo Hotel" ... see!!! I told you, Christmas would make another appearance!!! Literally no clue why.

The Flamingo Hotel, in case you don't know, is one of the original hotels/casinos in Las Vegas, I think it's the only one of its era still under the original branding and using the original building... this song is nice. I dunno, I don't have much more to say regarding it.

Ok, a couple of small things... this album came out on January 20, 2017, which was the day of Donald Trump's inauguration. That's a conscious decision they made as a group. How does it

affect the album & its themes? I think it means we have to contextualize all of this, the

more-than-meets-the-eye kitsch that requires you to take a closer look, read between the lines, and see that it's actually fucking depressing and a brilliant, deeply insular satire in which Hollywood is analogized to the Garden of Eden which has palm trees used as fencing which have arisen due to the sheer jealousy and destructiveness of those who seek fame and fortune, which makes these incredibly profound statements about the ways in which people are encouraged to alienate themselves from their own identity to chase something ultimately unattainable, and how chasing wealth and fame can only ever lead to your spiritual death, leaving you as a dead person walking, how Hollywood encourages and enables abuse while always protecting itself and its money-makers first & exports glamourized, unreal depictions of Hollywood and fame that kill the identities of so many young boys and girls internationally who insist on weighing themselves against a false depiction of the world.

If you look at the album cover, you can even see some of these things... you can see fire, you can see the ocean, you can see the red fern, you can see the flamingo and the palm tree, you can see a silhouette of someone being hung... take a closer look. It's right in front of you.

And throughout all of this, I only really brought up the production towards the very beginning. This is going to be seen as the progenitor of a new style of production, I swear. Jonathan Rado has his hands on so many projects, I think the most well-known one is Titanic Rising, which like holy fuck that album sounds like this. Which makes sense. But it's just a different approach and all.

I've been listening and engaging with this album for years. It just disappoints me to see how little people get it. Hell, I don't even fully get it. It's not perfect, I don't think any album really is, but what it is is underappreciated. They made something absolutely unprecedented, something with an unbelievable amount of love and passion and thought and care and effort and consideration and collaborative effort and respect and a desire to create something truly special in this. It just makes me sad to know it got snubbed so hard... I don't know how they must have taken it. The time I spent learning about the process, reading the interviews, watching the music videos... there is so much beauty just below the surface. Go buy a copy of the record. It is one of the most beautiful sounding pressings money can get you, cause, again, it was recorded in analog. It makes an insane difference. Plus, the album cover is beautiful. You need to see it in real life to truly understand how gorgeous it is... it was painted by Sam France himself on top of a piece of cardboard. If you look at the bottom of the cover, you can even see a bit where the paint presumably chipped off and the cardboard below is unveiled.

If you are just seeing this as an overly-camp, overly-produced, overly-glam, then, as stupid and cliche as it may sound, I think you're just not getting it. Now, they're likely broken up. They did that 80s follow-up, the one I mentioned might have been the original vision of Hang, with little to no connection to the rest of the meta-Foxygen saga. They sat on it for a year and dropped it. No tour, no celebration. They sound so tired on it. It makes me sad. The pedigree working on this album exists without comparison. It seems pretty obvious to me, this was their magnum opus in their eyes. And it is. I just hope that eventually people turn around and see it for themselves.