On March 3rd, Ron Gallo released FOREGROUND MUSIC, an album that is, in Gallo’s own words, what an existential crisis would sound like if it could also be fun. Over the course of 11 songs, Gallo displays what Ann Powers once called “literate electricity.” It moves from fuzz to lounge jazz to freaky pop to post-punk and back again to rollicking, truly FUN rock music, all the while taking aim at any and everything. An abbreviated list: male entitlement, the age of anxiety, apathy vs. action, gentrification, narcissism, retail therapy, xenophobia, the dread of future generations, right wing extremists in giant pickup trucks, capitalism, climate change and the experience of having a loved-one who is an addict.
It is a very American album in this sense, one that reflects the sort of person who begs for collective action and gets laughed at by cynics on the left and fear mongers on the right. FOREGROUND MUSIC is highlighted by the screeching dance-punk of “AT LEAST I’M DANCING,” which sounds as close as one can get to shaking their ass while on fire, the broken apocalyptic serenade of “BIG TRUCK ENERGY,” and the deliriously catchy “ANYTHING BUT THIS,” whereas Gallo screams atop guitars that threaten to swallow his voice whole–this is perhaps the best example in music history of someone singing into the void.
Despite the chaos, the broken spirits, and defeated dreams that dance around the merry go round that is FOREGROUND MUSIC, Gallo can’t help but infuse the album with a joyful charm, one that comes from a deep and sincere place of love for people and protecting the things we hold sacred. This is a broken time that leaves winners with bigger pockets than ever and the rest of us with zero, zilch, nada. And yet, Ron Gallo emerges at the end of this album with a mile-wide grin that nobody can wipe off his face. There is love in this album, between Gallo and his listeners, between Gallo and the strum of a guitar, between Gallo and the world. By the end of FOREGROUND MUSIC, Ron Gallo makes a staggering and life-affirming conclusion: “The world is completely fucked, but the universe is inside you.”
The album tracks will take on new and expanded forms on the forthcoming deluxe edition, out February 9, 2024. Released today, “I LOVE SOMEONE BURIED DEEP INSIDE OF YOU” brings on an acoustic version and an alternative recording. The new versions alongside the original can be streamed here.
Gallo says, “After touring all year behind the new album, nothing has ever caused so many people to come up to me after a show and tell me they cried and then proceed to open up to me about their own experiences losing family, friends and loved ones to addiction than this song. Sincerity is not always at the forefront of what I normally do because I find it to be scary, but with this song, it had to be, it came from a very real place and I really think it perfectly captures the feeling. It’s been amazing to see the reaction to it. It’s tucked away as the last track on the album and so I thought (while sick with covid and quarantining in my studio) that I oughta record an even slower, woozier alternate version using the old Casio I originally wrote the song on and give the song a moment to reach more people in the way I’ve seen it reach people this year.”
FOREGROUND MUSIC (DELUXE EDITION) cover art
FOREGROUND MUSIC (DELUXE EDITION) Tracklist:
1. FOREGROUND MUSIC
2. CAN MY FLOWERS EVEN GROW HERE?
3. ENTITLED MAN
4. AT LEAST I’M DANCING
5. BIG TRUCK ENERGY
6. YUCCA VALLEY MARSHALLS
7. ANYTHING BUT THIS
8. SAN BENEDETTO
9. VANITY MARCH
10. LIFE IS A PRIVILEGE? (INTERLUDE)
11. I LOVE SOMEONE BURIED DEEP INSIDE OF YOU
12. Anything But This (Jerry’s version)
13. I Love Someone Buried Deep Inside of You (Ron’s version)
14. yucca valley marshalls (acoustic version)
15. condos (acoustic version)
16. big truck energy (acoustic version)
17. can my flowers even grow here? (acoustic version)
18. anything but this (acoustic version)
19. i love someone buried deep inside of you (acoustic version)
20. Foreground Music (Tape demo)
“i love someone buried deep inside of you (acoustic version)” artwork