Eleanor Friedberger: “I Am The Past”

All this week, the Song of the Day spotlights some of our favorite live sessions from the past year.

Great songwriting always lurked under the Fiery Furnaces’ avant-garde tendencies. Being a fan of the band was an adventure, following the Friedberger siblings as they explored the confines of what a pop song could sound like. Could it be a ten-and-a-half minute suite incorporating electro, folk, musical theatre, and more? In their hands, that was a definite yes.

Since the beginning of the duo’s hiatus in 2011, frontwoman Eleanor Friedberger has changed the balance, favoring straight-ahead pop melodies with a bit of weirdness thrown in to keep you on your toes. Her two solo albums, Last Summer and Personal Record, are warm and inviting, cycling through power-pop, R&B, and punk with Friedberger as the freewheeling conductor. She’s a razor-sharp lyricist, favoring complete thoughts so that her songs unfold like short stories.

She stopped by our studios earlier this year and offered a stripped-down take on “I Am The Past.” It’s a simple acoustic performance, punctuated by Friedberger’s meditation on how the past always stays with us no matter where we go. And in true Friedbergerian fashion, a warbling echo effect accompanies her playing like a weird ghost that she can’t seem to shake.

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