Robyn Hitchcock’s Eponymous 21st Album is an “Ecstatic Work of Negativity”

Twenty-one studio albums into his career, Robyn Hitchcock has released a self-titled record. In recent interviews, when asked about the album’s title and why he chose to release an eponymous record so far into his career, Hitchcock has suggested Robyn Hitchcock is an introduction to his music. “Think of me as a new act – I’m only 63. People always ask me, ‘where should I start listening to your records?’ I’m a train with many carriages. I thought, I’ll just make this record and if people like this one, then they’ll probably like the others. If they don’t, it’s not worth them listening to any of them, really.”

The album originated in 2014, following Hitchcock’s move to Nashville, Tennessee. Friend and neighbor Brendan Benson offered to produce the record, with a single caveat: to make it sound like the Soft Boys.

“I said, well, I could use the same instrumentation,” Hitchcock notes. “Two guitars, bass, drums, and harmonies. Which obviously is the template that comes from the Beatles and Big Star and the Byrds, all of those groups that the Soft Boys were nourished by. But of course I’m not fueled by the same nutrients anymore.” The resulting album is Hitchcock’s liveliest record in years. The track “Virginia Woolf” draws on the sounds of the Soft Boys, per Benson’s request, while tracks like “Mad Shelley’s Letterbox” and “Time Coast” recall the alt-pop of Hitchcock’s time with The Egyptians, and others still evoke his quieter solo albums like I Often Dream of Trains.

Expanding on the comment that he’s “not fueled by the same nutrients anymore,” Hitchcock adds”I don’t have the same anger that I had as a 25 year old.” This is clearest in Hitchcock’s lyrics. Robyn Hitchcock‘s opening track, “I Want to Tell You About What I Want,” (and originally titled “My Vision of World Empathy”) talks Hitchcock’s vision for the future of humanity: “I want world peace / Gentle socialismo / No machismo / And the only god shall be / The god of L-O-V-E /I want a non-invasive kind of telepathy / That let’s you feel what it’s like to be somebody else.” The song never ditches Hitchcock’s off-kilter sense of humor, however. The next verse speaks of the eventual domination of the world by cats.

Hitchcock describes his latest record as “an ecstatic work of negativity.” His description of the album is apt. Even with the darker, cynical currents of the lyrics, the album is full of energy. To give Hitchcock the last word, “I’ve been making autumnal records since I was 30. Now I’m past the autumn of my life so I’ve decided to start making spring records. I can’t be bothered to sound as ancient as I am.”

Robyn Hitchcock is out through Yep Roc Records and available on Amazon, iTunes, and the Yep Roc store.

Writer’s Note: In addition to contributing to The Manual, I work at a music promotion company, Distiller Promo, that is currently promoting Robyn Hitchcock.

Fashion & Style

Cuts Clothing Offers Comfortable and Customizable Tees for Professionals

Yes, you can wear a T-shirt to the office. You just have to do it right.
Outdoor and Fitness

The Return of Dave Mackey: From Ultrarunner to Leg Amputee and Back

In 2016, ultrarunner Dave Mackey made the decision to amputate is left leg below the knee — but that hasn't stopped him.
Living

The Best Presidents’ Day Sales on Sheets and Bedding

Presidents' Day is the best times to treat yourself to luxury bedding deals.
Food & Drink

Naughty Noshing: What Are Aphrodisiac Foods?

Do oysters really get you in the mood? Does chili pepper make for better sex?
Living

What You Need to Create the Ultimate Man Cave for Music Lovers

Immerse yourself in sound and style with these products perfect for your own personal listening room.
Outdoors

Cut the Cord with the Best Wireless Headphones for Running

It's easier to get in the zone with your favorite tunes when you don't have to worry about pesky wires.
Music

How Bose Sleepbuds ‘Non-headphones’ Promise a Better Night’s Sleep

Replace snoring partners or screaming babies with soothing sounds to help you fall (and stay) asleep.
Music

The Best Funk Songs for Getting Down

From roller rinks to velvet lounges, funk is the grout between the tiles of life that keeps our bathtub all sparkly, scrubba-dub-dub fun.
Music

New Music Preview: Blood Orange, Ohmme, and Wild Nothing

August has plenty of new album releases in store, but there are three particular records coming out this month that we can’t wait to hear.
Culture

Ever Heard of a Cigar Box Guitar? This Book Teaches You How to Build One.

Known as the "poor man's guitar," these DIY instruments are low on cost but big on sound, according to author and musician Shane Speal.
Music

New Music Preview: Bob Moses, The Chills, and Cypress Hill

September has plenty of new album releases in store, but there are three particular records coming out this month that we can’t wait to hear.
Music

Workout Playlist: The Best Songs for Getting Pumped About Pumping Iron

Our workout playlist on Spotify has been audio-engineered to get you started on — and help you stick to — your new fitness routine.
Music

The Perfect Party Playlist for When It’s Time to Dim the Lights

Once everyone's eaten and the booze-infused blood of your crowd starts pumping, it's time to dim those lights way down and put on some good tunes.
Fashion & Style

Casio Announces New G-Shock X Gorillaz Watch Collection

In honor of Casio G-Shock's 35th anniversary, the timepiece specialists have released a tantalizing collaboration with one of the world’s most successful virtual acts.