Dirty Projectors' early career opened a virtual fire hydrant of ideas: albums overstuffed with sound and chaos, reined in by real artistry, released in rapid succession. But as bandleader David Longstreth honed his vision, the hydrant's flow has given way to a trickle. It's been more than four years since the last new Dirty Projectors album, Swing Lo Magellan, and Longstreth himself has stayed largely out of the public eye.
If "Keep Your Name" is any indication, the time off hasn't gone smoothly. A song about betrayal and loss, it's got a tortured, deeply conflicted video to match, complete with footage of instruments getting smashed, Longstreth drawing poop emojis (!) and dramatic closeups of faces in distress. It's wrenching stuff, yet it also retains Dirty Projectors' crucial sense of play, complete with a rapped aside that encompasses everything from the aforementioned poop emojis to a Gene Simmons reference.
Those seeking hints as to the song's motivation won't be disappointed — "What I want from art is truth," Longstreth sings at one point, adding, "What you want is fame" — but that story will likely be told soon enough. In the meantime, it's just nice to have him back.