On Be Good the Crazy Boys, Luke Temple’s latest album as Art Feynman, the songwriter taps into a vast array of influences to conjure up anxiety, tension, and nervous energy. With an emphasis on post-punk, Talking Heads–esque art rock, and new wave bands like Oingo Boingo, Be Good is a tightly wound ball of head-nodding grooves, soul-stirring vocals, and basslines that will get your ass shaking even if you’re fretting over the end of the world.
"Sonically, I was inspired by records that were recorded at the late Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas such as Grace Jones’ Private Life, Lizzy Mercier Descloux’s Mambo Nassau, and Talking Heads’ Remain in Light,” Temple shared in a press statement. On Be Good, he’s able to take these influences and shape them in his own unique style, imbuing his tracks with humor, soul, and an effervescence that belies the underlying anxiety of the album.
To get some more in-depth analysis on the record, we asked Mr. Feynman himself to break down each track on the album, citing influences from Rick Astley to “early ape-ish humans banging on things.” Check it out and stream the LP—which dropped last Friday via Western Vinyl—below.
1. “Early Signs of Rhythm”
I wanted to make a song that mostly had one static bass note running through it and then a release at a key moment. It feels very mechanical to me, and something about that repetition made me think of what it must have been like to discover rhythm in a musical context. Early ape-ish humans banging on things.
2. “In CD”
In the 1980 movie Superman 2, the villains arrive from space smushed two-dimensionally in this mirror-looking thing. That made me think about getting smushed in a CD. And also I like championing CDs—I think they’re the best sounding digital music medium.
3. “Therapy at 3pm”
You know it’s bad when you’re stressed about potentially missing your therapy appointment—like it’s a hit of a drug or something. I like the repetitive chord sequence here. I like to find chord sequences almost at random that don’t necessarily sound good together, and then repeat them ad nauseam.
4. “All I Can Do”
You can only do what you can do with the resources at your disposal—even your worst behavior somehow had to happen. I was thinking about the Rolling Stones tune “Shattered” in the verse and Dr. John’s first record Gri-Gri in the chorus. It really doesn’t sound anything like either of those records, but I like how it came out.
5. “Passed Over”
This is my nod to Rick Astley or Billy Ocean or something. Bright pop.
6. “He Dances Light”
I don’t know where this one came from, a groove led to it. Thematically it’s kind of about the French exit and saving face at all costs. I was thinking about Fred Astaire and how apparently he would usually show up to a party, say his hellos, and stay for about a half hour and then leave. I picture him secretly dancing out of the door, into his car, and into bed without a scratch on him, clean and never blamed for anything.
7. “Chasing My Life”
Another chord sequence that I forced upon myself and grew to love. Also, it’s another anxiety song with a sort of cathartic feeling to it.
8. “Desperately Free”
My dance banger. I sure hope this tune makes it to as many dance floors as possible. It started with the bassline. It’s a bunch of minor chords on loop in a strange formation, and I feel like the bassline makes it make sense. I love this one—I love how Carly Bond and Rose Droll really belt on it. I’m this kind of cartoon character in it, dancing between the words.
9. “I Do”
A little digestif after the madness and a slightly cynical take on marriage—although I met someone recently who I definitely would marry, so I take this one back. Musically it makes me think of New York City in winter for some reason. I think it’s Rose Droll’s amazing piano at the end.