First Listen: Speedy Ortiz, ‘Foil Deer’

Speedy Ortiz's new album, Foil Deer, is out April 21. (Shervin Lainez/Courtesy of the artist)
Speedy Ortiz’s new album, Foil Deer, is out April 21. (Shervin Lainez/Courtesy of the artist)

Wrote a long essay about Speedy Ortiz’s fantastic new record, Foil Deer for NPR Music’s First Listen series.

Back in February, I wrote a bit about Speedy Ortiz’s then-new single “Raising The Skate,” from its upcoming album Foil Deer, for NPR Music’s Songs We Love series.
That song proved tricky to unpack — a byproduct of both difficult to hear singing, and sometimes even more difficult to parse lyrical content. But, to me, it broke down to be an empowering feminist call-to-arms anthem about being fed up with toxic people who undermine you with asshole-ish verbal abuse.

As I delved more deeply into the full record for NPR Music’s First Listen series (go listen here while you can), that proved to be a thematic thread throughout nearly every song. With frequent references to frayed friendships and crumbling relationships, Sadie Dupuis, seems to be dealing with the fallout of distancing herself from those same times of people. For the most part, she’s not lovelorn or haunted by romantic failure; instead she seems to be saying fuck you to those people in often hilarious and cutting ways — and confidently moving forward without them.

There’s so many winning, quotable lines on this album — so I wanted to call out some of my favorites, including this clever one from “The Graduates” that I’ve become obsessed with:

“I was the best at being second place, but now I’m just the runner-up at being the second one you think of every day before you go back to one.”

It’s an excellent record, not just for the words, but the fury that Speedy Ortiz plays with — its melodies are lean and tangled one minute, and explode with noise the next. This has quickly become one of my favorite bands to see live, and it’s been satisfying to dig into it, not once, but twice in the last couple months. There was so much to tackle on this record, and I’m still not sure I got it just right how I wanted. But check it out now!