If “Golden Gal” was candy, it’d be sour taffy, melting on your tongue and leaving an insatiable desire for more. Instead of the empty calories that most actual candies bring to the table, “Golden Gal” dazzles the listener with sunny harmonies and an infectious synth beat. This song features vocals clean from the “Boys Latin”-esque call and response technique that dominated the previous singles, which paints an upbeat landscape that’s intensely satisfying to listen to over and over.
“Golden Gal”, the third single off of Animal Collective’s latest project Painting With, is certainly a technicolor, candy-coated daydream; which is reflected in the music video, a neat animation depicting a perpetually smiling girl awash with a constantly changing symphony of color. Although very abstract, and missing an obscene amount of Golden Gals, it’s an almost perfect visual companion to the song. The girl’s unwavering grin and bobbing pigtails perfectly match the sunny beat, one that hooks the listener right from the beginning. If the Painting With singles have shown us anything, it’s that Animal Collective can write insanely catchy tunes, without sacrificing any substance.
“Golden Gal” is no exception, with the squelchy synth bursts leading into an ardent proclamation of Avey Tare’s admirations for his golden gal. She ‘isn’t like other girls’, she’s beautiful and wise, strongest of all by far. The song seems to kick into a different gear after the “FLYTRAP!” sample from the oddball 80’s show “The Golden Girls”, followed by a short, nearly incomprehensible mess of synths reminiscent of Strawberry Jam‘s “Peacebone”. After a brief bridge, another intense, passionate proclamation of love for his muse begins in the chorus; a beautiful gospel. Each ‘golden gal’ repetition blends Avey’s voice into a harmony nearly stolen from a number of ELO tracks.
He once again reminds us that his golden gal is intelligent and unique, not a two-dimensional bimbo devoid of intuition or personality, “complex and brave, without showing some legs.” Through all of his affections and admirations though, he’s told to run along, as she knows that he’ll want her much more later. Avey Tare isn’t put off by rejection, and he continues to spread her praise. She taught him everything, and helped him become a better person, and for that he’ll always be indebted. “Golden Gal” is a vast kaleidoscopic paradise that brings hope back to the fans disappointed in 2012’s Centipede Hz and looking for more of that Merriweather Post Pavilion consistency. And with this, Animal Collective have re-envisioned their pop perspective and aligned themselves with a more accessible style that still runs rampant with their bizarre creativity.
– Johanna C.