Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Still Neutral After All These Years

Since buying it over a decade ago, I've gone through regular periods, maybe once or twice a year, where I'll take Neutral Milk Hotel's 1998 masterpiece In The Aeroplane Over The Sea and listen to it repeatedly, from start-to-finish, for 2 straight days. (Which essentially translates into 4 complete run-throughs during my daily commute to & from work [though I'll tyipcally have to skip "Oh Comely," always my least favorite part of the album, to squeeze it all in.) Today was one of those days, and, sure enough, I haven't tired of it one bit. Oh, sure, it can lag a bit by the end of the final strains of "Two-Headed Boy Pt. 2" -- that's usually when I'm busy parking, anyway, so no big deal -- but the rest of it (most notably "King of Carrot Flowers," "Communist Daughter," and "Ghost/Unitled") lays me away every single time. And, of course, the stunning "Holland 1945," with its allegorical Holocaust/Anne Frank-inspired lyrics, remains one of the finest pieces of songwriting in the frickin' universe. See below:

But you know what really scared me? In looking for a YouTube video to post, I realized that there is this hidden army of 10,000 haunted young emo-girls who post videos of themselves playing solo acoustic covers of nearly every song on this album. I'm really not sure what to make of this phenomenon. On the one hand, I'm really, really delighted to discover this, as I tend to assume most of the more arcane music I like is the unique province of rock nerds like myself, so if high school and college-aged girls are hooked by Neutral Milk Hotel, maybe there's hope for the world after all. On the other hand... well, c'mon. I just want to buy these girls a smoothie and sit out in the sunshine and tell them it's not so bad.

Here's a few:

"King of Carrot Flowers":

"In The Aeroplane Over The Sea":

"Two-Headed Boy":

"Holland 1945":

"Communist Daughter":

"Two-Headed Boy, Pt. 2":

Yeah, I know. No "Ghost." I don't get it. One of the best songs on the album, too. Get to work, sad girls of the world!


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