Isolation was a core theme on Aesop Rock’s last album, Skelethon. He had left his home environment of New York City and moved to San Francisco. Now Aesop has moved again and is currently residing in the middle of the forest, in Portland. In a barn. during a four part video series, the rapper undergoes psychiatry at the hands of an animated bear. During these sessions, Aesop Rock discusses a social rut he’s experienced resulting from both moving from his home city, as well as being too comfortable in a mundane routine, leading to the communication breakdown of both his friends and family.
Family is the main subject in Aes’s new song. The first half of the song shows Aesop recounting a story of his younger brother playing tee-ball when he was eight years old. It’s a story rooted in dark humour with the appearance of a gopher on field, and subsequently being escorted out of a tee-ball game. Similar to Aesop’s last album, he spearheads the production on his new album. It’s hard not to draw comparisons to this song and and songs like “Ruby ’81” and “Fryerstarter” from Skelethon. The second part of the song is the retelling of Aesop’s older brother’s attempt to see the band Ministry live. Ultimately, the concert wasn’t attended and the gopher was not left alive. It’s a bittersweet recollection; akin to what we may assume Aesop Rock is experiencing in the present.
In the time between verses, Aesop solemnly mentions that he hasn’t seen his brothers in a while. Aesop’s recounting of these sad stories likely reflect his current state. While being able to reminisce about the good times of adolescence with his brothers, there’s always the bittersweet feeling of knowing that those moments are gone. These emotions can take on another, more sinister feeling when the question is not, “Why haven’t I talked to my family recently?” but, “Is my music separating me from the people I care about?”
– Christian Varty