October 9, 2008

Neutral Milk Hotel//Holland, 1945

In 2001, I took an overnight Greyhound bus trip from Detroit to New York listening only to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel. And I was happy. That’s how good this album is.

In the Aeroplane is easily one of the most perfect albums ever created (and probably the only indie rock ever created that’s mostly about Anne Frank). The songs are simple, but that quality only enhances the appeal (and the drunken sing-along ability). The lyrics are so strong, with depth that comes off sounding pleasantly skewed, and the soundscapes are rich and innovative. Many of the songs on the album blend into each other, making the it more of a symphony with distinct movements, rather than just a random collection of songs.

Unfortunately, this sophomore effort from Neutral Milk Hotel was the short-lived band’s last, as the central songwriter and force behind the group, Jeff Magnum, strangely dropped off the face of the earth. His seclusion was so dramatic and complete that Slate has touted him as the Salinger of indie rock, which I don’t think is too terribly far off.

Holland, 1945.mp3

Now she's a little boy in Spain, playing pianos filled with flames.

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