If I Could Just Leave My Body For A Night

Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective

Certain albums simply define entire periods of a person's life. For me, 2007 was largely devoted to Of Montreal's amazing Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?, while 2006 was Minus the Bear's entire discography up to that year. For most of 2009, I hadn't really listened to much music until I finally listened to Merriweather Post PavilionThis probably isn't uncommon for most people. As one of the best-received album in years (they got a 9.6 on Pitchfork, for goodness sake), most people are at the very least aware of Animal Collective, and even more have strong opinions about them (Because of this, it's almost embarrassing to seriously attempt a review of it).

I started listening to Animal Collective years before I heard "My Girls" for the first time, after hearing "Chores" and "Fireworks". Even though I liked them, I tend to enjoy music for only short cycles, and soon enough I had forgotten about Animal Collective. The next time I heard Animal Collective, I was in a cafe working when "My Girls" came on the radio. It may have been the extremely shitty stereo, or it may have been the unbearable heat and frustrating customers (this particular cafe is located by a Gene Juarez salon, whose hair stylists would be almost likable if they weren't uppity-snobs that never ever tip), but I absolutely hated what I heard. I spent several months completely ignoring the album, which wasn't hard to do when my computer crashed and all my music disappeared.

At some point in the year, however, my stubbornness was finally broken when I realized I wasn't finding any good music to listen to on my own. I no longer had people recommending me music to listen to, and it had been such a long time since I had looked up music on a site like Elbo.ws or Hype Machine that I really didn't know where to start. Well aware of the fact that most albums I hate I eventually love, I turned to Merriweather Post Pavilion.

I'd rather not try to go through each song and pick it apart, lyric by lyric, simply because I realize how long this post has already become (and also because I am itching to just get distracted and procrastinate on publishing this yet again). Anyone familiar with any Animal Collective song knows that there is rarely a clear narrative to any song. Much of the vocals are lost in reverbs, noise, and sometimes just complete vocal distortions so as to render any word incomprehensible. Instead, songs center around a general feeling or event which may only become evident after sitting down carefully with a pair of good headphones and the lyrics next to you. Even so, there are few bands that can capture a single emotion as keenly as Animal Collective.

No comments: