I found out about the debut album from half of The Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger, when I was browsing the web site of one of my favorite record labels, Merge Records. I was thrilled when I found that Spotify features not only the Merge Records label catalog but a great playlist with new and featured albums from their catalog — I am greatly appreciative to David Boles for introducing me to the fantastic service.

While I have not yet purchased the record (the cover art makes the vinyl look fantastic) I have been thoroughly enjoying it on the free version of the Spotify service, even if interrupted once per album to hear an advertisement for a different album or a Spotify feature about which I am not familiar — such as the ability to see which artists and songs you have been enjoying the most. (I am quite grateful for that because I love statistics that are completely useless in any way.)

The album starts off on a strong note with the song “My Mistakes” in which Friedberger sings about how she had thought that she had learned from her mistakes. I often think that I learn from my mistakes and find that it is not quite so and so this song puts a big smile on my face when I hear it. Here is a video of the song.

Much of the album is in tribute to the city of New York in one way or another. In the song “Roosevelt Island,” Eleanor sings about this fantastic small island through which I pass every day on the way to work (I take the F Train from Kew Gardens to York Street and it passes through Roosevelt Island — I have actually gotten off the train once to visit our friend and roommate Chad at work there.) “Owl’s Head Park” is a very real park that I would like to visit some time.

If you are looking for a good solid rock album with fun lyrics and music that would get you dancing (if dancing is your sort of thing) then definitely check out Last Summer.


  1. Great review, Gordon. Spotify is a real gift if you love music. I have been able to rediscover, over the past month, my wide-ranging taste in all musical genres. Yesterday, I found an “acoustic” version of Cy Coleman’s musical “Barnum” that is rich and amazing. It sounds like an investor pitch tape later released to the public. The “Cy Coleman Trio” plays the music in the pure jazz form originally intended for the Broadway stage.

  2. It was great being able to listen to the whole album on Spotify — instead of 30 second blips on iTunes — and I can confidently say that I prefer a more identifiable melody and a brighter hook in the music I enjoy.

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