On the Farm | Panda Bear


Photo: Tonje Thilesen via Pitchfork

Bridie McBride

Today’s jam is brought to you by #oldschool Noah Lennox. Off of Panda Bear’s self-titled 1999 debut album, “On the Farm” is a seemingly sweet tune with a subtle dark twist.

After his album release earlier this year, it’s interesting (and worthwhile) to go back to the beginning and see Lennox’s musical progress and growth. This song is considerably different from, say, “Boy’s Latin”, but I think it’s still got a certain quality that’s unique to Panda Bear’s music. Maybe it’s the unintelligible screaming.

The lyrics describe a day ‘on the farm’: the animals, the surroundings, the work that has been done and the contentment that comes with completing a long day of such work. The song expresses an appreciation of the simplicity of this lifestyle. The final lines, “tip my hat to nothing in particular/just glad to be so simple”, resemble an ode to life, innocence and plain old happiness.

I find this song reminiscent of some of Modest Mouse’s older stuff (see: “Gravity Rides Everything” or even “Trailer Trash”) because of the toned-down, lo-fi quality as well as the vocals: such naked, honest and naïve lyrics coming from a voice that sounds almost pained. Perhaps Lennox is mourning the loss of a life he once knew, or longing for one he know he will never find. It gives an otherwise uplifting song a rather melancholic twist.
All in all, I think of “On the Farm” as a reminder to step back and appreciate the simple things, especially in this busy time of year (and busy time of life). So take a few minutes to jam out and think about your life and the good things in it. You’re bound to find something.