In a sense, every record is a personal one. Singer and songstress Eleanor Friedberger took that idea and ran with it, and in a bit of plain-spoken practicality commensurate with her pop smarts, she called her new LP Personal Record.
For most of the 00s, Friedberger, along with her brother Matthew, was one-half of indie-rock duo Fiery Furnaces. From 2003 to 2009, Fiery Furnaces managed to turn out an impressive seven full-lengths (eight if you count the 41-minute, 2005 b-sides compilation The Fiery Furnaces EP). Despite laudatory reactions from critics and fans alike, Fiery Furnaces went on indefinite hiatus in 2011. That same year, Friedberger launched her solo career with the release of Last Summer.
Personal Record (out today) picks up where Last Summer left off. Co-written with singer and songwriter John Wesley Harding, Personal Record is a warm, simple, direct slice of pop gold. And one of the songs that paints that picture best is the album’s first single, “Stare At The Sun.” The beat is quick and bouncy, the guitars sharp and jangly. Friedberger delivers her witty, ornate lyrics with sunny precision. The short guitar solo near the end gives it a nice 70s pop (a genre Friedberger is particularly enamored with) flourish. Friedberger wastes nary a note on “Stare At The Sun,” the record as whole might just be a personal best.