Though you certainly wouldn’t know it by the cocksure and casual growl of his new album, Songs in the Key of Animals (one of our Most Anticipated Albums of 2016), Benji Hughes‘ career to this point has proceeded in fits and starts. Since his band Muscadine were signed to Sire by Seymour Stein in 1996, Hughes has written and recorded a Captain Morgan jingle, recorded a solo debut that was shelved by New West Records for being non-commercial, released an ambitious (but overlooked) record in 2008’s A Love Extreme, and finally penned a whole bunch of double entendres for John C. Reilly and Jenna Fischer to sing in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
Now signed to Merge, Hughes is preparing to release Songs in the Key of Animals on Friday. It’s a joyously composed and performed record, indebted in equal measures to Prince and Ween at their lightest and The National at their most morose. Album single “Girls Love Shoes,” whose video we’re thrilled to be premiering today, falls squarely in the former camp. “Girls like lots of things,” go the lyrics over an appropriately sassy percussion track before the song blossoms into a celestial groove, Hughes cooing the title phrase. It’s not dissimilar to the proto-viral “Let’s Get Some Shoes” video from the mid-aughts, though it reframes that video’s central joke—that some men think women are shallow—with, you know, music you’d actually want to listen to.
The video was directed by Whitey McConnaughy, who says of its creation, “I usually don’t do videos that relate to a song’s lyrics, but if the shoe fits and it’s a bit strange (but in a really groovy way) then you best go ahead and wear that sucker!”
Check it out below.
Songs in the Key of Animals is out Friday on Merge.