NPR Story
11:52 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Song Of The Week: 'Animals'

NPR music writer and editor Stephen Thompson introduces Here & Now’s Robin Young to the song “Animals” by the band The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.

The band consists of John Lennon’s son, Sean Lennon, and his girlfriend and fellow musician Charlotte Kemp Muhl.

Guest

Copyright 2014 WBUR-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wbur.org.

Transcript

ROBIN YOUNG, HOST:

Well, it's Monday. That means NPR musical writer and editor Stephen Thompson has a new song for us to take in. Stephen, what have you brought?

STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: I've got a duo with a nice long cumbersome name, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. It's a band featuring Sean Lennon. He's the son of John Lennon, and he's been making music with a very smart singer and multi-instrumentalist name Charlotte Kemp Muhl. And when they first got together a few years ago, the music they were making sounded kind of trippy and light. But on their new album, which is called "Midnight Sun," there's more of a churn and a grind to these songs. There's darkness and lightness that are more intermingled in ways that are really interesting and powerful. This song from the new album is terrific. It's called "Animals."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ANIMALS")

GHOST OF A SABER TOOTH TIGER: (Singing) Everywhere you go, you're in a microscope. You're living in a fishbowl and your minds under control.

YOUNG: Stephen Thompson, some people of a certain age will find it sweet that you felt the need to point out that Sean Lennon is the son of John Lennon. Because to them it's something they've never forgotten. And you can hear John Lennon's voice.

THOMPSON: Well, first of all, I love to be clear about these things. Never assume that anybody knows anything.

YOUNG: Right, you can't. Right.

THOMPSON: But there is a definite similarity there, and I don't think that he could avoid that if he tried at this point. It's kind of a blessing and a curse when you think about it. Sean Lennon is part of continuum, but he's also standing in a long shadow. And he's clearly got a lot of his own artistic impulses to contend with. Remember, he's also the son of Yoko Ono.

YOUNG: Who can forget?

THOMPSON: Exactly. And to me part of what is so cool about The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger is that it feels like it's of a piece with where John Lennon might have gone musically had he lived. It's got a bit of that classic-sounding pop to it, but it's got teeth to it as well. And there's kind of a weird paranoid vibe to the sound, which I describe as almost retro futuristic. It's familiar in a sense, but it's also always forward-thinking. And I love that.

YOUNG: OK. Well, "Animals" from the new album "Midnight Sun" by the band The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, which is composed of Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. NPR music writer and editor Stephen Thompson, thank you so much as always.

THOMPSON: Thank you, Robin.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ANIMALS")

SEAN LENNON: (Singing) Animals have escaped the zoo, coming down Fifth Avenue. Now there's nothing left to do. Stop running away, stop running away. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Related Program