Song of the Day #4,496: ‘New Frontier’ – Donald Fagen

‘New Frontier’ is a standout track from Donald Fagen’s acclaimed 1982 album The Nightfly. This was the second single released from the album and it reached #70 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The previous single, ‘I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World)’ made it to #26.

This swinging tune depicts a young man in the 60s holding a party in his parents’ bomb shelter. It uses JFK’s promise of a “new frontier” as a symbol for the romantic yearning of youth, toeing a line between satire and bittersweet sincerity.

The song’s video, which combined live action with animation, apparently received a lot of play on MTV in the early 80s, though I can’t recall ever seeing it myself.

[Verse 1: Fagen]
Yes we’re gonna have a wingding
A summer smoker underground
It’s just a dugout that my dad built
In case the reds decide to push the button down
We’ve got provisions and lots of beer
The key word is survival on the new frontier

Introduce me to that big blonde
She’s got a touch of Tuesday Weld
She’s wearing Ambush and a French twist
She’s got us wild and she can tell
She loves to limbo, that much is clear
She’s got the right dynamic for the new frontier

Well I can’t wait ’til I move to the city
‘Til I finally make up my mind
To learn design and study overseas

[Verse 2: Fagen]
Do you have a steady boyfriend
Cause honey I’ve been watching you
I hear you’re mad about Brubeck
I like your eyes, I like him too
He’s an artist, a pioneer
We’ve got to have some music on the new frontier

[Guitar Solo]

Well I can’t wait ’til I move to the city
‘Til I finally make up my mind
To learn design and study overseas

[Verse 3: Fagen]
Let’s pretend that it’s the real thing
And stay together all night long
And when I really get to know you
We’ll open up the doors and climb into the dawn
Confess your passion, your secret fear
Prepare to meet the challenge of the new frontier

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,496: ‘New Frontier’ – Donald Fagen

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I don’t recall the video either, but played this album a lot in the 80’s.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.