The Dirty Projectors Are the Greatest Band in America

The Dirty Projectors very nearly drove me insane on Thursday night. I felt this intense feeling of joy in my bosom that hasn’t fully faded even now, days later. And the performance was recorded by NPR! Stereogum has made my week, my year, my life.

A very smart friend explained to me that to understand the genius of The Dirty Projectors, you need to understand the genius of Beyoncé, and in particular a song called “Resentment.” To my embarrassment, I have largely “slept on” Beyoncé, which I’ve come to understand is the rough equivalent of sleeping on the Rapture or some other Biblical-level pre-Apocalyptic event. As I listen to “Resentment,” it is clear to me that Beyoncé is a serious musician who is dealing with other serious, serious musicians.

Honestly, listen to “Resentment” and then listen to “Stillness Is the Move,” with Amber Coffman on lead vocals. “Stillness” is a pastiche, with a North African influence. It has the same densely layered quality as “Resentment,” but, and I realize I’m in a small minority here, I think The Dirty Projectors take Beyoncé‘s genius to another level — they take it to “11.” Coffman has an insane, insane voice.

I thought I’d have to wait until June for the release of Bitte Orca to hear these amazing songs. I feel spoiled. I keenly feel that life has become sharply unfair in my favor. In other news, though, I learned via Razib Khan that Bengalis have an extremely elevated risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. But I don’t even think that balances things out. I’ll just stop eating dessert.

To find most of my blog posts, please visit The Atlantic. To find my “Evil Forces” raps — and Why would you want to do a thing like that? — visit

Dave Longstreth, the mastermind behind The Dirty Projectors, is also the brother of Jake Longstreth, an amazing painter. I hope their parents are incredibly proud — they should be. If their parents were bourgeois Asian immigrants, reigning stereotypes suggest that they’d be insufferable, but in a charming way.