Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Stare at the Sun” by Eleanor Friedberger from the 2013 album Personal Record on Merge.
Long known as one half of the 2000s sibling duo The Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger began a solo career that has given the singer a completely different voice to work with, both lyrically and musically. Along with her brother Matthew, Eleanor formed the creative core of The Fiery Furnaces, whose musical was characterized by their wide range of lyrically-crafted adventures and the occasional trip into non-English vocals. After the band entered a hiatus in mid-2011, Eleanor began writing and recording her first solo album, 2011’s Last Summer, with a more focused musical approach and a new lyrical subject: herself. Like the rest of this year’s Personal Record, “Stare at the Sun” isn’t strictly a pop experiment, but it aims to be a more universally-relatable collection of songs. Clocking in at just under three minutes, an upbeat, strumming tempo balances lyrical kiss offs (“if that was goodbye/then I must be high”) and clever appreciations (“I’m far from the town/in the suburbs of your pleasure”) to a former lover. It’s probably a little too wordy to be picked up by the masses on top 40 radio, but “Stare at the Sun” is certainly more effective and a hell of a lot more fun than any other I’m-single-and-I-love-it anthem that’s going through car speakers at the moment.
Eleanor is wrapping up the current leg of the tour in behind Personal Record in Los Angeles before heading on to Europe and a fall stint opening for Colin Meloy. Keep up with her on her website and Facebook for any future tour dates and watch Eleanor and her band play “Stare at the Sun” live on KEXP in June below.