Merriweather Post Pavilion
Holy shit. So trippy.

If I had to sum up Animal Collective in one word, it would be "weird." They sound, look, taste, smell, feel weird. This has always been. Their latest release, however, Merriweather Post Pavilion, released officially in the States yesterday, is a little less weird than its discography-mates. Is this good or bad? Oh. It's very, very good. So good, in fact, that I have already given it my #1 spot for Alina's Top 9 Albums of 2009. And it's not even February yet.

Now, what is it that makes Merriweather such pure musical enjoyment? Animal Collective has always been good (Sung Tongs and Strawberry Jam are favorites), but their newest release is simply great. Every song is just... great. When I first listened to Animal Collective, I remember being overwhelmed by the weirdness of the sound. The stream of thoughts circulating around my head went a little something like, "What the fuck... Ah! What was that! What the fuck..." My thought process upon listening to Merriweather for the first time was much more peaceful: "Oh God, this is awesome." Is it because I've been listening to AC and simply become accustomed to their musical antics and inclination toward strange sounds? I really don't think that's it. I truly believe that, with their latest release, they struck some chord with the overall listening public. They've whittled down their music to its purest form and focused their energies on creating an impact.

That impact was largely due to the striking lyrical repetition and quality of their new music. Have you seen Good Will Hunting? Remember the scene where Robin Williams and Matt Damon are alone in the office, and Robin just keeps on saying to Matt, "It's not your fault." For those of you who don't remember, it went a little something like:

ROBIN: It's not your fault.
MATT: Oh, man, I know.
ROBIN: It's not your fault.
MATT: ... I said I know... I know.
ROBIN: (getting a little closer) It's not your fault.
MATT: I know! I know! I know! (weeps in ROBIN's arms)

This perfectly mirrors my experience with "Also Frightened."

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: Are you also frightened?
ALINA: Mm... good song, man...
ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: Are you also frightened?
ALINA: Wow, this is like, really ambient and shit. Good song...
ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: Are you also frightened?
ALINA: Hmm... what... is this... emotion... I am beginning to feel...
ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: Are you also frightened?
ALINA: (in tears) Yes, I am! I am also frightened!

For real. Whereas before, Animal Collective did a lot more of the "ooOOOooh.. aaAAAah... Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah" as vocals (listen to "Leaf House"), now they've exhibited this poetic sincerity that is unmistakingly beautiful. And like-able. And only a little bit weird.

mp3 My Girls
mp3 Also Frightened
mp3 Lion In A Coma
Blogger illegalsmile said...
Strawberry Jam was my first encounter with Animal Collective and that's the exact word (weird) I used. That album has not, and probably never will, seen a lot of plays from me. Immediately after My Girls I hooked on this more cohesive and not so chaotic sound. They still have that great expansive deep beat sound that I do enjoy ever so much. Thanks for the heads up!

Blogger Fern said...
Great, plainly stated review! Tired of reading snobby reviews full of fluff and references. I feel the same way about the old and new AC. And, your little "Also Frightened" dialogue made me crack up at work!