Frog is a two-man band splashing about in the waters of cymbals and casiotone 101s. Frog is based in Queens, and it declares that “no amount of partying will ever let Frog forget that, except if it does, and we wake up somewhere else. Frog plays good music, mostly about flies, female frogs, and the ups and downs of living in the swamp. Frog deeply loves each other. Frog fails, Frog flails, Frog pales, bails, and sails through life, ailing and wailing into rock and roll history.” I’ll make the claim that All Dogs Go to Heaven is an example of their flailing, ailing and wailing – a necessary precursor to sailing and being a part of rock and roll history. They’re being helped out by British label Audio Antihero on the release of their new LP Kind of Blah and furthering their froggy fame.
The track (and the album of which it is a wonderful part) begins with a tripped-out sequence of four notes played on a synth which are then slowly bent downward into the tonal background of the rest of the track as a soft jangling guitar texture enters. The video is a mix of NYC borough imagery (mostly focusing on subways, clearly aging footage too which makes the vibe very stylized) and suburban idyll – children playing, grassy fields, houses painted red. The most notable sonic feature of this track is vocal harmony; rhythmically it’s pretty simple, a pop song with bluegrass roots (and synths?!!!) but the lyrics (which you have to read to really catch, they fly by your ears too quickly and intelligently for comprehension) and vocal melodies are absolutely fantastic and spine-chilling and endearing all at once.
it was lightly raining all the trains shuttled out on Concourse all the dogs seemed to call her name
if all dogs go to heaven
and all dames ache for Daniel Day
fuck with me darlin’ and i’ll make you pay
In addition to the juxtaposed urban/suburban footage, we’re given clips of an old man looking melancholy on the subway as he stares through the window at borough townhouses. Urban malaise, nostalgic wishing for greener days perhaps? After the most powerful refrain in the track (“all dogs go to heaven, amps up to 11, all cabs go to bedford and N 11”) the video blesses us with a clip of a small girl clapping joyfully as the subway rolls in, a perfect counterpoint to the melancholy older man who we saw earlier. This is emblematic of Frog to me – here is an issue, here is our childish yet oh-so-appropriate joyful response. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Frog is keen on reminding me of all the beauty that slowly escapes me as I age. As the track concludes, the little girl hops on the train and the guitar plucking is replaced by a synth tone gradually bending upward – one symmetric parabola of a track, through and through.