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Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

Merriweather Post Pavilion 

From the Liner Notes From Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion


Merriweather Post Pavilion is an outdoor music venue in a place called Symphony Woods in Columbia, Maryland. It was designed by Frank Gehry in the 1960’s, and they’ve been having concerts there from 1967 up through today. We used to go to shows there while growing up and have fond memories of times spent on the lawn. For most of the time we’ve been playing together, both in Animal collective and the years before, we’ve tried to make music that would be deserving of an amazing outdoor listening experience. As both a name and a place, Merriweather Post Pavilion represents this for us.


I think whenever you make a statement like I did that this album is the best album since Wilco’s ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ that you essentially are left with your dick in your hand; sorta like a first date when you blurt out ‘I Love You’. You better be under some heavy drugs or completely inebriated for such a comment to fly. Most times, you will get a weird look and “Well . . . it was interesting . . . before you crawl into the corner of your bed contemplating the misery and your ineptitude among other things.


However, I was neither on any smack, ludes, hash, or any banned substance which would make me blurt this out. . . just me myself and my trusty computer screen here to guide my way.


There is a point in the first song on Merriweather Post Pavilion (MPP), exactly 2:31 into the song that it just explodes in your brain.  A moment of pure ecstacy and delight that could in some cases make the rest of this album insignificant. There can be no more pure moments in rock and roll but at that moment, two minutes and thirty one seconds into this song where you picture thousands of people at a show feeling that same energy.  That everything is peaceful and perfect and alright in the world.


If I Could Just Leave My Body For The Night . . .


The rest of the album is not insignificant and leads the listener into its hippie cauldron of bliss.   However, this is not a hippie album by any measure but an album that transcends styles and ideas at a more universal approach. I was bundled up this week during the cold Midwestern weather walking to work. . . it was sunny, frigid, and MPP was blaring on my iPod and the streets were silent, as if I was having a Vanilla Sky moment. As cold as it was as my eyelashes were freezing together, I could not help but feel the warmth of the music.


MPP is a progression of Animal Collectives sound mixing the best from their last work, ‘Strawberry Jam’ and Panda Bear’s ‘Person Pitch’


MPP is not a dance album but you want to dance to it. Its an electronica album but you would not think of it as true “Electronica” because its almost organic human characteristics surrounding the music. The lyrics are not going to blow you away as it is not doctorate level poetry but who says that it has to be?  Do lyrics have to provide us with some deeper meaning in life or is it the construct to mesh with the music that is provided on the disc? Not everyone can be Dylan, not even  Dylan himself.


Do I think that there was a reason that the CD of this album is intended to be released on January 20th for a reason? I would guess that the Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama has something to do with it. MPP offers that same hope and optimism that should be


The album probably has 5-6 really standout tracks which, depending on the fan you talk to will give you a different answer. The opening track, In The Flowers opens the album up, setting the mood as described above and is followed by ‘My Girls’ a moment of pure bliss pop electronica.


‘Bluish’ is its love song, the lyrics ‘lucid’ and dreamy as the music while ‘Lion In A Coma’ is all about beat and rhythm featuring the ethnic African beats while still sounding fresh and receptive. Brothersport ends the album in a frantic pace, as the dance rhythms take you over.


I would suggest the best listening experience would be to either crank these tunes up very loud to appreciate the heavy bass or wear headphones and get drowned out in the summer atmosphere.


While we are only in January, I am going to be hard pressed to find a better album this year. Something will really have to jump up and surprise me to beat this from start to finish and if it does 2009 would expect to be an amazing year in music. 

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