Follow the Leader | Foxygen

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Joe Hazelton

While listening to new winter albums, I’ve found myself lumping Foxygen, Kid Cudi and the xx into the same bin–this uncomfortable, unintended, reunion party of things I played on every game-bound bus in early high school.

At first I thought this might be an unfair association, but a glance through Wikipedia turned up some unbiased ties. Each artist got their start in the late 2000s. Each broke out in the early 2010s. Each continues to underperform their breakout in every new album sales mark.

And, separate from these stats, every new release by the three seems to undermine what I connected with on their breakouts.

This new Foxygen album doesn’t quite buck the trend kept strong in the past two months by the xx’s I See You, and Kid Cudi’s Passion Pain & Demon Slaying, but like the tracks “On Hold” and “By Design,” “Follow the Leader” reminds me of what I loved at age 14.

Sam France’s confident, stage-lit vocal meets a procession of strings, back-up singers and horn blasts. He spits a few funky lines, such as, “You could never get me to cheat on you,” and “It’s true he’s much too old for you.” Alongside the very well expected, “Hey baby you know it’s true / I’m in love with you.” This song finds its way into my playlists, and car speakers more than any other on Hang.