Sunblind

Songfacts®:

  • This song finds Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold paying tribute to musical heroes who have passed away, many of whom died far too soon. They include Elliott Smith, Arthur Russell, Nick Drake, Otis Redding, Jeff Buckley, Curtis Mayfield, and Jimi Hendrix.
  • The song title appears in the third verse when Pecknold references how the music of his dearly departed heroes have helped him in his life.

    And in your rarified air I feel sunblind
    I'm looking up at you there high in my mind
    Only way that I made it for a long time


    Pecknold explained to EW: "I wanted to make a song that celebrated my heroes in an explicit way - people who have passed and who I want to honor in the music. That was a big focus of mine, helping them stay alive through these memories. Music is this weird invisible form of immortality for these people, and I wanted to do it in a joyous way and reframe some of the sorrow of loss into a kind of celebration."
  • The song is the first full-length track on Shore and the anchor that ties all the tracks together. However, it was actually the last tune to be completed, and was recorded only a few weeks prior to the album's release. "'Sunblind' is like giving the record permission to go all these places or something," Peknold explained to Apple Music. "Once it felt like it was doing that, then the whole record kind of made more sense to me, or felt like it all tied into each other in a way that it hadn't when that song wasn't done."
  • The track opens with the line, "For Richard Swift," referring to the American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer who died in 2018 aged 41 as a result of alcohol-related illness. Swift was a friend of Pecknold, though the pair had not seen one another for several years. Asked by The Guardian if he was shocked by Swift's death, Pecknold replied:

    "I think everyone knew that he'd been struggling for a little while, and I was shocked, maybe more so than people who were closer to him, but yeah... He was in the family, and everyone knew Richard and loved Richard."
  • Sean Pecknold, the elder brother of Robin Pecknold, directed the video. It shares glimpses of the two years of recording sessions for Shore, which took place between September 2018 and September 2020.

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