Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Album Review: Eleanor Friedberger - Personal Record

Eleanor Friedberger’s follow up to her 2011 solo debut, Personal Record, bests its predecessor in nearly every way.

Personal Record is more confident, more sure-footed. After a strong debut on Last Summer, Friedberger doesn’t need to prove herself outside of the context of the Fiery Furnaces and sounds totally unburdened.

Last Summer, with its focus on locales in and around Brooklyn, feels like the obligatory tour one gets from a friend when visiting their new place in comparison to Personal Record. The new collection of songs is — pardon the obvious — much more personal. It’s the conversation that happens late into the night after the tour is out of the way.

Friedberger focuses less on quirky rhythms and structures and more on crafting solid pop songs. This shift in focus along with very human lyrics about love and relationships makes the music on Personal Record easy to connect with.

That’s not to say Friedberger has lost her uniqueness. There’s still plenty of quirk to go around, such as the bass clarinet solo on “I Am The Past.” Few other artists could write a song like the Hall and Oates-inspired “She’s a Mirror” and make it so damn addictive.

Friedberger’s music is unmistakeable and instantly recognizable. Personal Record is her high-water mark so far, even surpassing her contributions to the Fiery Furnaces.

Personal Record is out today, June 4, on Merge Records.

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