Our top 10 Fleet Foxes songs introduce us to a band formed in Washington famed for its phenomenal indie-folk songs. The story of Fleet Foxes takes us back to Lake Washington High School, where the band’s founders Skyler Skjelset and Robin Pecknold met. Appreciation for Neil Young and Bob Dylan had the two bonding only to make music together later. Before forming their band, Pecknold performed on tour with Dolour on the bass in 2005. It was after the tour that Pecknold founded the new band Fleet Foxes. Initially, the band went under the moniker “The Pineapples,” only changing it after realizing another local band going under the same name. Fleet Foxes is built around Pecknold, having him take up the lead vocalist and principal songwriter roles. While Skjelset might be the band’s lead guitarist, Pecknold also supplements the band’s song with his skills.
Pecknold’s late-sixties pop style had the band attract the attention of great producers who would become instrumental to the band’s success. Fleet Foxes released their eponymous debut EP in 2006, which helped the band gain popularity on the local circuit. However, the band stayed for quite some time without releasing their debut album while still maintaining its popularity. Pecknold would later reveal that Fleet Foxes was able to maintain such status and success due to illegal file-sharing. The band went on to release its second EP, Sun Giant, with an eponymous debut album following soon. Fleet Foxes got a positive reception from music critics and even had the band compared to Crosby, Stills Nash, & Young and The Beach Boys. While Fleet Foxes continued releasing multiple songs, the band went on hiatus in 2013, only to reunite in 2016. Currently, the band prides itself with four studio albums, one compilation album, and two extended plays. Here are the top 10 Fleet Foxes songs from these indie folk luminaries.
#10 – Ragged Wood
Ushering us to the top 10 Fleet Foxes songs is “Ragged Wood” from the band’s eponymous debut album. Written by Robin Pecknold, the song starts with full-throated yet rhythmic harmonies that come in handy in unleashing some energy in the song’s beat. “Ragged Wood” has its lyrics comprise of a plea to a departed close soul. However, the plea is delivered in a manner that calls to mind humbler times or what some might feel to be fictional circumstances. The song uses imagery to evoke scenes of nature while delivering the theme of freedom and yearning.
#9 – Can I Believe You
“Can I Believe You” is a contemplative song whose lyrics are credited to Fleet Foxes’ frontman Robin Pecknold. Featured on the band’s album Shore, the song originated from a riff Pecknold created after the band resumed from their third album tour. The song’s lyrics allude to an untrustworthy fiancée who he wonders if he should believe. Unique about the song is its over four hundred different voice clips that serve as the choral backing.
#8 – Blue Ridge Mountain
What happens when you miss someone? Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold might be one of the few unique people who can pen a great song when they miss their brother. “Blue Ridge Mountain” is an original composition featured on the band’s eponymous album. Robin penned the song’s lyrics at a time he missed his brother with whom they have a camaraderie. Sean Pecknold has been instrumental to Robin’s music career, having him direct several songs by Fleet Foxes, including “Can I Believe You.”
#7 – Grown Ocean
“Grown Ocean” is an original composition by the Fleet Foxes featured on the band’s album Helplessness Blues. Fleet Foxes’ vocalist Pecknold revealed that the song was inspired by the nicotine patches when writing and recording for the band’s release Helplessness Blues. This was at a time he was trying to quit smoking, having the nicotine patches give him ridiculous dreams that felt quite real and vivid.
#6 – Helplessness Blues
Number six on our top 10 Fleet Foxes song is the ballad “Helplessness Blues” from the band’s sophomore album going under the same name. Vocalist Pecknold revealed that he was inspired to write the song after interviewing Crosby, Stills Nash & Young member Graham Nash. The song finds the Fleet Foxes singer reflecting on the impact selfish individualism of his young age influenced him as an adult.
#5 – Third of May/ Ōdaigahara
“Third of May/ Ōdaigahara” is the first single from the band’s 2017 album Crack-Up. The song is inspired by Fleet Foxes guitarist Skyler and vocalist Pecknold’s relationship after a successful release of the album Helplessness Blues. Its lyrics allude to the unresolved and unrequited relationship dawdled psychologically. Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen fans might relate to the song’s opening line “Light ended the night, but the song remained.”
#4 – The Shrine/ An Argument
“The Shrine/ An Argument” adds glamour to the Fleet Foxes 2011 album Helplessness Blues. The intoxicating burst of free-jazz sax in the multi-part song “The Shrine/ An Argument” is what makes the song one of the best Fleet Foxes songs. Vocalist Pecknold revealed that the song’s different phases or parts are meant to capture the appropriate emotional feeling reflecting on the different phases of a break-up. The break-up song elicits tons of emotions pumping up energy and weird anxiety too.
#3 – He Doesn’t Know Why
Featured on the band’s eponymous album, “He Doesn’t Know Why,” delivers bosom and poetic lyrics. The lyrics allude to feeling confused and downhearted when envisaging the dejected state of the life of a close one. Lyrics to the song sends us reflecting on the unforgiving reality that memories we hold can cajole us in making regrettable decisions. Fleet Foxes’ vocalist Robin Pecknold penned the sublime lyrics that make the song quite reputable.
#2 – Mykonos
“Mykonos” is an outstanding song from the band’s 2008 EP Sun Giant. The song combines classic rock, British folk, and baroque pop to bring the 1960s back to life. Listening to this song reminds you of the 1960s performers such as Neil Young, The Beach Boys, The Zombies, and Bob Dylan. The song remains quite memorable, especially due to its enthralling stop-motion animation video.
#1 – White Winter Hymnal
Number one on our top 10 Fleet Foxes songs list is the ballad “White Winter Hymnal,” featured on the band’s eponymous album. Songwriter and vocalist Pecknold surprised many by mentioning that the song is lyrically fairly meaningless. However, the song is Pecknold’s favorite ballad for a live performance. The song brings the best of vocals from Fleet Foxes delivered on a simple but catchy tune. “White Winter Hymnal” has been covered by tons of artists, including Kina Grannis, ARORA, Alexander Armstrong, and Kim Wilde.