clap clap blog: we have moved

Monday, July 19, 2004

For the next however-long, I'm going to attempt to do something of a guide to the new Fiery Furnaces album, Blueberry Boat. I usually focus on doing analyses of singles, but I think in this particular case there really is something to be gleaned from trying to consider it as a kind of whole, as I mentioned before. At the same time, I don't want to do it in the traditional rock-crit way of sort of picking and choosing bits that fit the case and ignoring other stuff; I want to look at it as a series of linked singles, as it were. And so I can't really dump all of this out at once--while it will eventually be collated into a whole, I think in the spirit of the blog, I want to do each song as an entry. So, time permitting, that's what I'm going to do.

Each entry will consist of three parts:


This will be, pretty basically, a narrative rendition of the arrangement of each song, followed by a chart/formula laying out the structure. Given the insane number of sections the songs on this album incorporate, I think it'll be very useful here, rather than merely revelatory, as it might be for other albums. It's less that seeing the structure will aid in understanding why the song works and more that I need to understand what the hell is actually going on in the song before I can hope to get a grasp of it. For a decent example of this, see my "Electric Version" entry.


This will be a discussion of what's going on in the song, musically, lyrically, and at the intersection of the two. Hooks and hidden hooks and odd little turns and sudden choruses and all the usual clap clap claptrap.


I think you can--or, rather, that it's interesting to--construct a coherent narrative or two or three out of this album, and this section will attempt to reconcile what's going on in the song to the larger plot of the album. Basically, I think there are three "settings" on this album: East Asian seaports, Western Europe and certain parts of the Medditeranean (contemporary for Eleanor, ancien for Matthew) and the American suburbs (slightly past-tense for Eleanor, present-day for Matthew). (Note: I can't see any character names in there for the narrators, so for purposes of clarity, I'm just going to use the singers' names.) What's interesting here is which are used as framing devices and which are memories and which are fantasies and the way that they slip into each other, much like how the music changes without warning. There are a few different ways you can construct this, and maybe I'll try and pursue multiple paths, but I also might not. We'll see where it goes, eh?