Singer, songwriter, and producer James Mercer wrote “New Slang” when he was living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It came out as a single and then he re-recorded it for The Shins debut album Oh, Inverted World, which came out 20 years ago, in 2001. After the movie Garden State came out, featuring the song “New Slang,” that album went gold. And the soundtrack for the movie won a Grammy. Nowadays, James Mercer lives in Portland. I spoke to him from his home studio, and he told me how The Shins actually first started as a recording project, a side project, while he was in another band called Flake Music. In this episode, James breaks down “New Slang” and looks back at how his songwriting and his early home recording skills came together to mkae this iconic song.
You can buy or stream “New Slang” here.
Illustration by Carlos Lerma.