Ty Segall - Freedom’s Goblin Album Review
There can’t be a conversation about modern rock without mentioning Ty Segall. A multi-instrumentalist and garage rock guru, Segall’s solo and collaborative output is not only monolithic in size, but has helped carry rock through the changing tides of music for more than a decade. His dedication to the craft has led to one of the most diverse discographies in the entire genre’s history, and with 2018’s Freedom’s Goblin, Segall pulls from nearly all of his wide reaching styles for a masterclass release in the rock genre.
Coming in just short of a 75-minute runtime, listening to Freedom’s Goblin becomes an experience greater than simply consuming media. The album’s pacing and flow is where the album shines the most, with Segall slowly upping the records complexity and oddity over the course of four to five songs before reorienting the listener with a more accessible and traditionally written track.
“My Lady’s on Fire” is the best execution of this technique on the album, coming off of the strange and fuzzed-out ending of “When Mommy Kills You” with a stripped down acoustic intro. Slowly Segall adds additional instrumentation until the climax of the song hits the listener with an uplifting saxophone solo. While on paper this technique may make the album seem formulaic, it helps give the album longevity and keep the listener invested with how much variety the album is able to offer.
At times the album almost feels like a curated playlist, as if your cooler older brother is introducing to all the best songs from non-mainstream rock for the first time. While the album doesn’t offer anything stylistically that hasn’t been done in rock before, it’s this careful attention to the album’s atmosphere rather than the individual songs that makes the project so engrossing. Segall incorporates elements of glam rock and art rock in his performances, anchoring the album’s atmosphere in a interesting but familiar sound that breathes new life into the styles of rock he’s playing around with.
Lyrically Segall doesn’t offer anything rock fans haven’t heard before, but the charisma in his performances give the songs an emotional center even if thematically there’s not much (if anything) there. This doesn’t really take much away from the album, as it’s an album focused on delivering an engrossing musical experience which it executes brilliantly on. While not every single track is necessarily crucial or vital to the album, the album as whole is able to stand on its own. Whether on in the background or actively listening, the album’s energy and charismatic performances make one of the most enjoyable complete album experiences in rock in a long time.
Freedom’s Goblin acts as the perfect entry point for listeners unfamiliar with the more inventive and ambitious sides of what the rock genre can do. It may wear its influences on its sleeve, but delivers those influences in a package delivered with charm and care that will resonant with even the most seasoned rock listeners. Segall’s love for the music of rock is bursting at the seams on this album, and it’s an experience that will be touted as one of the most enjoyable and fun of the year.
Chandler Copenheaver is a senior majoring in public relations. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senior / Public Relations