Album Notes - Young Fathers- Heavy Heavy
At the end of February I was listening to a podcast in which they discussed a quote out of a 1991 book from a songwriter who came to fame in the 1960s and has remained an American icon ever since. The gist of the show was about how popular music has changed over the years and the quote from Paul Simon was on the evolving displacement in that space of melody by rhythm: ""We're long out of the age of melody. Long out of there and we probably won't be going back into it."" No less an expert than someone whose songwriting transformed from gems like ""The Sound of Silence"" and ""Bridge Over Troubled Water"" to the other side of the coin on ""Can't Help But"" over the course of less than three decades, it's hard to disagree with the prickly diminutive tunesmith. The takeaway of the pod was that top 40 radio (or however it's measured in the age of Spotify and TikTok) seems to agree.
In the middle of February I was listening to the latest from Young Fathers and couldn't get over the beauty and joy of their fourth album, one that effortlessly intertwines rhythm and melody without placing a premium on the former at the expense of the latter. The Scots won the esteemed Mercury Prize back in 2014 for their debut Dead and now seem bent on making their career run in the opposite direction of Mr. Simon's assertion of pop's progression. Over four albums, Young Fathers' approach has ever so slightly shifted from one driven by beats to what has landed as Heavy Heavy's melodic calm. Neo soul? Art pop? A little hip hop? Tribal cadence? Labels be damned, Heavy Heavy is perhaps the most enjoyable set of music to my ears this young year thus far.