Eleanor Friedberger: Last Summer This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

July 28, 2011
Patti Smith is the first person who came to mind as I flipped through the almost photographic ensemble of “Last Summer” by Eleanor Friedberger, an immensely classy yet laid-back songstress early in her solo career.

Originally (and still) the lead vocalist of Brooklyn-based indie rock band, The Fiery Furnaces, with her brother Matthew, Eleanor is not new to the music scene. However, with the masterfully constructed, pop-influenced music of this solo effort, she has a created a genre of her own.

From the opening song, “My Mistakes,” listeners encounter a flurry of images and dates, particularly 1956, 2000, and 2001, sewn intricately into an album clearly hinting at nostalgia, especially its title “Last Summer.” Although Friedberger creates vivid imagery through a unique style that's almost akin to the spoken word, the lyrics seem nonsensical, albeit irresistibly catchy.

From “Inn of the Seventh Ray” to “Early Earthquake,” Friedberger creates a familiar atmosphere, as though she wants her audience to understand the album intimately, bequeathing her memories right into our ears.

The album is splashed with variety. Her musical structure seems to have been borrowed from the up-tempo jazz days of the 1940s, then made beautifully modern. “Last Summer” is an intimate album with beautiful imagery, making it an excellent choice regardless of the season.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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