Charlotte native Benji Hughes has a fun, funky new album from Merge Records called Songs in the Key of Animals.
Hughes fronted a rock band in the 90's, before moving on to write music for commercials, movies and television. He then released his debut record A Love Extreme eight years ago.
His album titles play off of classics from John Coltrane and Stevie Wonder.
"I love those artists. And I also love fun," said Hughes. "I kind of feel like it's fun to have fun, and that people get a little too serious when they're making records."
This bright, surreal album is full of tracks that fit the bill. Take these lyrics from "Peacockin' Party" for example:
I thought she ran around with monkey
Till she found out he was horsing around
Now he's kicking it with a donkey.
"It works good," Hughes said. "It's ridiculous. And it's got animals in it."
Shifting focus to humans, Hughes released "Girls Love Shoes," which comes with this bizarre music video:
Hughes acknowledges the similarity with comedian Liam Kyle Sullivan's viral video "Shoes" from a decade earlier (language warning):
Hughes covered Elanie Mandell's "Magic Summertime" on purpose. She's a friend of his.
"It's just such a pretty song. I felt like there's a summer theme going on with the record... It just felt right."
Songs In The Key of Animals is out now.