Tuesday, January 27, 2009


The collective hysteria and hyperbole surrounding Animal Collective's new platter, Merriweather Post Pavilion, was uncharted. Close friends behaved like members of the official AC Street Team. Supermarket mothers were overheard discussing the vinyl street date bump-up in relation to the internet leak. As much as I've never been a "joiner," -- I'll be the first to admit to oftentimes being infuriatingly contrarian -- I kinda' wanted to be in on this one. Maybe I missed something by not downloading it along with everybody else in the last days of 2008. Truth be told, I feel like a retard for not liking it.

Well, I do like it a little bit. That is, track #5, "Daily Routine." But I'll have to disagree with Google as to MPP's status as nothing less than THE ALBUM OF THE DECADE because the fact remains:

Not a song on the album is nearly as catchy as "Leaf House." Or "Did You See The Words." Or "Peacebone."
Not a single moment makes me lose my shit like the two-note bassline of Kanye West's "Love Lockdown"(!!!).

If we're talking about weird-goes-pop, which we kind of are, then for all claims that MPP is the group's most accessible work (shout out to Entertainment Weekly!), I was expecting the new AC to sound a tiny bit like West's fuuuuucking goooood single; after all, MPP was purported to be "bass-y" and many AC tunes shares the same tribal drum pattern of "L.L." Instead, MPP is an incredibly murky and tedious record to slog through. And you do have to fucking slog through it.

Strangely, for all it's unlistenability, I was not prepared for the ::coughkinda'gaycough:: euro-pop/disco touches inherent to MPP. Back to the weird-goes-pop thing, where Black Dice's "Kokomo" [MP3] is an Escalade ride through Willy Wonka's factory, "My Girls" veers dangerously close to... well....

Alright, picture this: you're in Ibiza (but more like Ibiza, Florida) and it's the release party for an As-Seen-On-TV club music compilation. You've just taken a bunch of herbal ecstasy and are dancing with your hands in the air and IT FEELS SO GOOD. That's "My Girls"!

Beyond the outright cringeworthy pop of "My Girls," there's nary a hummable moment on MPP. On the flipside, the weird moments aren't even that weird, just less quantized (an aside: if you know this musical term, you are a nerd).

In the end, I can't help but feel MPP is less the culmination-of-all-AC-records-etc. and more a "phoned in" effort. Yes, elements from all those other, better AC records are there but it sounds less organic and more like a brand. I'm not exactly complaining. We could use more brands like this -- something more original and peculiar than the (major label) artists that typically receive the kind of praise this album is getting. I just wish Merriweather Post Pavilion was better.

1 comment:

rs wells said...

Maybe the media was more ready to have them crossover than they were? Upon a few cursory listens, I actually liked "My Girls" better than most of the others on the record, and can't get through the first song at all. I think lyrics will always be their weak point, in the end, as they always come off super sophomoric.