Featherweight

Album: Shore (2020)
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Songfacts®:

  • Frontman Robin Pecknold began writing Fleet Foxes' fourth album in September 2018, immediately after touring Crack-Up. When the COVID lockdown hit, Pecknold had much of Shore conceptualized and artist contributions recorded, but didn't have any lyrics for his musical compositions.

    When the summer of 2020 rolled around, Pecknold still hadn't written any lyrics he felt comfortable with.

    He became overwhelmed with worry and anxiety about finishing the album. Pecknold began taking day-long drives in his Toyota 4Runner from his apartment in New York up to Lake Minnewaska and into the Catskill Mountains to clear his head. On one such drive, the words to "Featherweight" came to him, broke the gridlock, and set him up for the rest of the record.

    "Before that I had no lyrics and I was really stressed about it, not knowing how to write words that matched the music I was making that didn't put it over the top or dull its impact, that just felt like the right accompaniment," Pecknold explained to American Songwriter. "With 'Featherweight,' the words just materialized line after line like I was just watching it happen."
  • The words not only fitted a melody he'd had for around a year, they also matched the gratitude Pecknold felt for being still alive and not out of work. He'd been feeling thankful "in terms of having a roof over my head and of not being waylaid by the pandemic and the decimation of the music business."

    "I guess I was feeling that my problems seemed small compared to what's going on," Pecknold added. "That's a better place to live mentally regardless."
  • The song title doesn't appear in the lyrics but refers to how Pecknold's time in lockdown helped make his problems seem more "featherweight." He told Apple Music the song finds him "acknowledging that I've made problems for myself sometimes in my life when there weren't really any."
  • Robin Pecknold's older brother, Sean, directed the animated stop-motion video. Sean Pecknold has worked on many of Fleet Foxes' music videos in the past, including "White Winter Hymnal," "Can I Believe You," and "Sunblind."

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