Can I Believe You

Songfacts®:

  • The wistful "Can I Believe You" was the first song Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold started to write for Shore. It originated with a riff he came up with during a break from touring their third album, Crack-Up. Pecknold told EW that for a while he struggled to get anywhere with the tune and it was actually the hardest track on the record to finish.

    "The first part I wrote was the 'Can I believe you' line with that melody and progression, and I couldn't tell if that was a verse or a chorus or how it should function in the song," he explained.

    Pecknold's original lyrics were about an untrustworthy second party. Once he started thinking more about his own hang-ups with letting people in, the words came easier.

    "As the song developed, it turned into this headbanger about trust issues and it was funny to me because it's such a fun song," he said. "It made sense for a song about trust to have the verse function like a chorus and the chorus like a bridge; the whole thing is slightly upside down."
  • The song's choral backing comprises over 400 different voice clips compiled from recordings solicited by Pecknold from his Instagram followers. Resting on top is Pecknold's lead vocal that's talking about trust and believability. Producer-engineer Beatriz Artola (Adele, J Cole, The Kills) spent days editing them together and cleaning them up into one big choral bed.
  • Pecknold enlisted university student Uwade Akhere to accompany him on the song. He discovered Akhere after being sent a clip of her singing the Sun Giant track "Mykonos." Akhere was studying at Oxford University at the time; she traveled by the Eurostar train to Studios St. Germain in Paris to record vocals for this song, the title track and "Wading in Waist-High Water."
  • Sean Pecknold - Robin's older brother - directed the video, as he has done for all Fleet Foxes clips. The director explained his vision was "an interpretation of what trust (or the uncertainty of it) feels like."

    He added: "This film also reflects the frustration and lack of human connection brought to all of us during the pandemic of 2020."
  • The video stars Jade-Lorna Sullivan, who previously appeared in Fleet Foxes' visual for "Fool's Errand," and Jean Charles, who also featured in the band's "I Am All That I Need / Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar" video. It is the third part of a three-part trilogy.
  • The Shore album was a surprise release. Fleet Foxes announced the record one day before it became available and dropped it at 13:31 universal coordinated time on September 22, 2020 to mark the beginning of the autumnal equinox.

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