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Fred Thomas empathizes with “Mallwalkers” on his new song

Fred Thomas (Photo: Jimmi Francoeur)

Between his solo project, the indie-soul band Saturday Looks Good To Me, and his myriad of other projects, Fred Thomas is wildly prolific. On January 27, Polyvinyl Records will release Changer, a record that sees him distilling many of his various pursuits into a record of dense, rewarding pop songs. And today The A.V. Club is premiering “Mallwalkers,” the album’s closing track that sees Thomas breaking the fourth wall by asking ”is this the same song?” and wondering if something about this whole experience feels like a slowed down version of the real thing. From there, Thomas opens up into a wordy diary entry, circling back on the album’s themes and trying to make sense of them all. There’s no clear resolution, but as this quote from Thomas proves, that was the whole point.

This was a song I made a few different demos for with various different lyrical approaches before ending up with the final version that made it to Changer. I was trying to capture the kind of eternal crowded loneliness that I vaguely remembered from being in high school and working a horrifying minimum wage job all summer at the bulk foods store. This song isn’t taken directly from my experiences, but aims instead to recall how slowly the time passed, the narcotic feeling of walking out of an unnaturally cold air conditioned bubble into a burning swelter and how the nights of hanging out with friends who were figuring things out at different rates felt so sad and monotonous. Like a lot of the songs for this record, the gender of the protagonist is unclear, and with “Mallwalkers” it’s also vague as to if the song is addressing one melancholic subject, different people or a whole group of characters and their interactions. The song ends without resolution, which is kind of the point. Those stilted, eternally fucked high school summers don’t resolve or get better, they just shift into something else without ever being made total sense of.

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Pre-orders for Changer are available now through Polyvinyl Records.

Fred Thomas tour dates

2/7—Victory Lounge—Seattle, WA *
2/8—Mississippi Studios—Portland, OR *
2/9—Hemlock Tavern—San Francisco, CA *
2/10—1234 Go!—Oakland, CA *
2/11—The Hi Hat—Los Angeles, CA *
2/13—Soda Bar—San Diego, CA *
2/14—Club Congress’ St Valentine’s Day mixer—Tucson, AZ ^*
2/16—Mohawk—Austin, TX *
2/17—Walter’s—Houston, TX *#
2/18—Circle Bar—New Orleans, LA *

* w/Tyvek
^ w/Coathangers
# w/Rose Ette

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