Never Heard of 'Em
Anna Minard claims to "know nothing about music." For this column, we force her to listen to random records by artists considered to be important by music nerds.
Great times to listen to the Feelies:
• On headphones while you go for a walk on a beautiful sunny day
• On headphones while you sit quietly at your desk, staring out the window at the sun and hoping for a magic time warp so you can be done with work while the sun is still out
• At night while you make dinner in the dark and dance around the kitchen
• At the impromptu party you throw in your living room because woo-hoo it's almost spring and maybe it's raining right now but tomorrow morning it'll be lovely again, goddamnit!
• Inside on a sunny day, on the couch right by the window, trying to convince yourself to go for a walk even though you're super-hungover.
See, the Feelies are of a musical class that chameleons its way around your feelings, like an empathetic pet. When you're tired, they're mildly, cheerfully peppy; when you're so excited you could burst, they're buoying you up above the fray of life and into a stratosphere of fun. They accompany you into gloom but don't let you stay glum; they sound nice when they're quiet and when they're blasted and when they're piped straight into your ears.
I think my favorite track is still the first one, "The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness." It starts with some water-droplet-style drips and taps, then the beginning trickle of guitar. It shows you the ingredients of the thing first, then how they braid together, like the end of a friendship bracelet that's just fringes of different strings.
But I had to meet this album twice, so I'm not sure yet what parts I like best. See, I heard it first in random order (by accident!), so now, having carefully reassembled the correct order, I have to re-hear each track, sandwiched between its appropriate friends and stumbling toward a deliberate conclusion. It's totally different! For example, what had been a random find partway through the album, the giddily repetitive "Fa Cé-La" (you could listen to that song forever), was in fact track two, a direct sibling to that first solid "Boy."
Also special: "Moscow Nights" will make you dance—but you have to be ready to be goofy. Jump around and shake your head, swim through the air, twirl around. "Raised Eyebrows" will feel like the outro song to the movie of your day, so be ready for that kind of choked-up pre-nostalgia feeling as the credits roll.
I give this a "happy spring, everybody!" out of 10.