Widow City

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Widow City
Studio album by The Fiery Furnaces
Released October 9, 2007 (US)
October 8, 2007 (UK)
Recorded January 2007 - February 2007
Genre Indie rock
Length 59:05
Label Thrill Jockey
Producer Matthew Friedberger
The Fiery Furnaces chronology
Bitter Tea
(2006)Bitter Tea2006
Widow City

Widow City is the sixth full-length album by The Fiery Furnaces. It was released on October 9, 2007 on Chicago-based label Thrill Jockey. The album art features Eleanor Friedberger on the front and Matthew Friedberger on the back.

Title and themes[edit]

The album, although criticized for lacking a unified concept, heavily references occultism, Egyptian thematic elements and mysticism. The album is a reference to the holy city of Vrindavan in northern India. An estimated 3,000 women have made their homes there begging and praying at the temples. Widows flock to Vridavan and neighboring Mathura because Hindus believe that people who die there are freed from the cycle of birth and death and can obtain moksha (emancipation). Dressed mostly in white, the color of widowhood, the women spend most of their day in prayer earning five rupees a day and a handful of rice or begging on the street.[1]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "The Philadelphia Grand Jury" – 7:18
  2. "Duplexes of the Dead" – 2:39
  3. "Automatic Husband" – 2:08
  4. "Ex-Guru" – 2:42
  5. "Clear Signal from Cairo" – 6:10
  6. "My Egyptian Grammar" – 3:21
  7. "The Old Hag Is Sleeping" – 2:54
  8. "Japanese Slippers" – 2:57
  9. "Navy Nurse" – 6:28
  10. "Uncle Charlie" – 2:16
  11. "Right by Conquest" – 3:36
  12. "Restorative Beer" – 2:37
  13. "Wicker Whatnots" – 4:27
  14. "Cabaret of the Seven Devils" – 2:44
  15. "Pricked in the Heart" – 2:15
  16. "Widow City" – 4:33
  17. "Barnabus and Paul (iTunes Bonus Track)" – 2:43
  18. "Mandolin and Maracas (iTunes Bonus Track)" – 2:47

Additional information[edit]

A portion of the press release:

As on past Fiery Furnaces' albums, the backing tracks have a narrative aspect, excuse the expression. For instance, the long 'bassoon' and altered tabla part in "The Philadelphia Grand Jury" might indicate the singer in the song's waiting for the word (verdict). The loud guitar-drums-and-Chamberlin 'thunderstorm' part towards the end of "Ex-Guru" indicates the thunderstorm brought about by the jilted ex-guru. The synthesizer filtering of the acoustic guitar in "Duplexes of the Dead" indicates the odd light that filters through the dirty curtains a duplex of the dead would no doubt have. The swelling melody at the end of "My Egyptian Grammar" indicates the pride that likely swells up in the breast of a blue jay referred to therein. The monkey and cow noises in "The Old Hag is Sleeping" indicate the rooster at dawn. The guitar solo at the end of "Cabaret of the Seven Devils" counts to seven. The train sound effect in "Japanese Slippers" indicates a train. And so forth.

David Byrne recorded a cover version of the song "Ex-Guru" for a Thrill Jockey compilation.[1]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [2]
The A.V. Club B [3]
Pitchfork Media (7.4/10) [4]
PopMatters (4/10) [5]
Stylus Magazine A [6]
This Is Fake DIY 4/5 stars [7]
Tiny Mix Tapes 4/5 stars [8]


External links[edit]