Few liner notes capture the magic of music as beautifully as the liner notes for Fleet Foxes debut album of the same name.
Your attention is instantly grasped by an anecdote – the recital of a memory as though you are a friend of songwriter Robin Pecknold, reminiscing on days of old (Pitchfork, 2011). Perhaps atypical of a liner note, these only feature the technical side of things very briefly at the end, albeit in a rather diminutive manner (Biron, 2005). However, I believe this focus on what lies beyond the facts is what is so resonating.
The liner notes contain little value in a deeper understanding of the songs, however, they provide a vivid insight into the deeper meaning of music to Robin Pecknold. He states:
“This leads me to something weird about the power that music has, it’s transportive ability. Any time I hear a song or record that meant a lot to me at a certain moment or I was listening to at a distinct time, I’m instantly taken back to that place in full detail.” (Medium, 2015).
In his digression, he recalls specific songs by artists which transport him to a specific epoch of his life. Possible influences he lists include The Beach Boys, Joni Mitchell, Radiohead, and Dungen, and personally, I can definitely hear these in Fleet Foxes music.
The liner notes certainly inspired a dialogue within me. I am able to apply music’s transportive ability to my own life. When I hear “The River” by Groove Armada I am instantly taken back to Sunday mornings my childhood home in rural Western Australia; the smell, the weather, the feel. Conversely, when I hear “Uptown Funk” I am transported to the memories of my first semester at college: the anxieties and the excitement.
“Fleet Foxes | Pitchfork”. 2015. Pitchfork.Com. http://pitchfork.com/features/interview/7960-fleet-foxes/.
“Fleet Foxes’ Liner Notes Explain Why Music Is So Important”. 2015. Medium. https://medium.com/village-fm/the-best-thing-ive-ever-read-about-the-meaning-of-music-ee6dba5f66ca.
Biron, Dean. 2011. Writing and Music: Album Liner Notes.