Dirty Projectors, a Brooklyn indie rock band led by David Longstreth, has released a total of eight albums. After the band’s 2012 album Swing Lo Magellan, Longstreth worked alongside Rihanna, Kanye West, and Solange (who co-wrote “Cool Your Heart” in the new album). Of all the band’s albums, however, this is the first time one of those is self-titled. In the album Dirty Projectors, Longstreth explores all the layers of a breakup—the anger and frustration of not seeing eye to eye, the acceptance of things not working out, the loneliness after the breakup, and the reconciliation of differences.
The band has gone through several changes in lineup, but Longstreth has always been the front man. Most recently, vocalist Amber Coffman (Longstreth’s former girlfriend) left the band, along with Angel Deradoorian. Understandably, the new album presented the opportunity for Longstreth to express his feelings after the breakup and to do so all on his own.
In “Little Bubble,” Longstreth laments about “dumb and meaningless dreams” and feels alone, with lyrics like “Morning / There’s no one else here / I’m alone in the cold.” I’d recommend watching the music videos for this song and others by the band. I’ll be honest and say that some of them are super weird, but they definitely are profound.
Anger is felt in the song “Death Spiral,” where Longstreth sings “But it’s the end / we’re enemies, not friends / I don’t know your state of mind, mine’s good, bye.” The song has a scattered nature about it, which embodies what one often feels when they deal with confrontations in a breakup.
The song “Keep Your Name” has a warped, hazy feel to it. Longstreth comes to terms with his differences of his ex, when he sings “What I want from art is truth, what you want is fame / Now we’ll keep ‘em separate / and you keep your name.”
In “Up in Hudson,” Longstreth weaves together a narrative of his past relationship, assumingly with Coffman. He sings about how he met her, when she joined the band, and the realization that their love would eventually die. This can be felt when Longstreth sings “And love will burn out / And love will just fade away.” The song reconciles the separation, but still acknowledges the pain. The song also features brass accompaniment and blends together a pop and classic trumpet sound.
What I love about Dirty Projectors is that Longstreth does not wallow in the stereotypical themes of any other “breakup album”—like self pity, and the “he-said, she-said.” Longstreth uses his breakup to fuel a profound album, one that’s interesting, quirky, and cathartic all at the same time.