Saturday, January 16, 2010

Merriweather Post Pavilion - Animal Collective

Animal Collective's 2009 album Merriweather Post Pavilion (MPP) has gained notoriety as Pitchfork's top album of 2009 and was also deemed the best album of 2009 by UK music critics. With all the praise that has been heaved on this album, this is a great place to start this blog. The album MPP is named after a venue in Maryland (Awesome). I have been to the venue a number of times and have never heard anything like the psychedelic sounds Animal Collective has gathered for their break out hit. Below is the breakdown and explanations of their score.

Overall 34/40

Sound- 10. From the start of the album, you know this is going to be weird. The pulsing crunching sounds(that to me sounds like "Mm'Bitch" but I doubt thats accurate)leads into the soft verse keeps the listener entranced. As the experience of In Flowers (the first song on the album) continues, an eclectic grouping of sounds (including water drops and people clapping) leads to the awesome lyric "If I could just leave my body for a night". The song completely changes from this point and this sound is the bread and butter of MPP.
The next song My Girls (ranked Pitchfork's top track of 2009) continues the psychedelic craze that is MPP. Songs like thesee are why headphones are so important. When listening to this song without proper headphones (or a good sound system) a lot of the sounds that make My girls such a great song are lost. However with proper sound equipment, the song is amazing. The bass (it sounds like it may even be a timpani) is simple yet captivating. The bass mixed with great harmonies and a persistent synthesizer melody make My Girls a hit.
There are 11 songs on the album, some are better than others but each one will ensure you keep listening.

Musical Ingenuity - 10. This isn't an album you are going to hear on the radio. It's original, it's fresh and is a great listening experience. I am not implying that things heard on the radio aren't ever good, but Animal Collective is far removed from standard radio tunage.
To continue the cookie cutter analogy I used in my last post, I don't know if Animal Collective ever set out to classify this album into a genre. My itunes says its "Alternative Rock" and to judge the album on that standard, this album creates its own mold that I hope other Alternative Rock bands will be inspired by.

Lyrics -8. Not exactly a sing a long in your car kind of album. But Animal Collective probably didn't set out to make a sing-a-long album. The lyrics in the songs are fun, imaginative and not overly generic.

An excerpt from Summertime Clothes -

"Rip off your sleeves and I'll ditch my socks
We'll dance to the songs from the cars as they pass
Weave through the cardboard, smell that trash
Walking around in our summertime clothes,
Nowhere to go while our bodies glow
And we'll greet the dawn in its morning blues
With purple yawn, you'll be sleeping soon"

Approachability-6. This is where the album loses the most pointsl. MPP is pretty much that hot girl, who knows she's hot and flaunts it. At first you want to go talk to her, and you really try to but then end up chickening out and talking to your friends about "oh yeah, I tottally could have got with her if I tried". Appropriate analogy? I think so.

The first time I listened to MPP I didn't like it. I thought it was weird, and turned it off after Daily Routine. I sat around for a couple of weeks and then kept seeing it pop up o various music websites. I gave it another a careful listen and I fell in LOVE with their sound. This album is harder to get behind because it's so different, but give it a shot and I'm pretty sure you'll find something you love about it.
Favorite Track: My Girls

Overall: 34/40 A great album that I think everyone should give a shot.

Next Review: Before I Self Destruct- 50 Cent

Keep Rocking.

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