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Friday, March 1, 2024

In Review: Neutral Milk Hotel

Neutral Milk Hotel
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

Rating: 5

When I think of some of the greatest albums of all time, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, released in 1998, by Neutral Milk Hotel would be by far the easiest choice. Additionally, just last August, the band announced an exclusive vinyl release of their two albums In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and On Avery Island.

It’s strange to consider a band’s entire body of work consists of less than 40 songs. A music critic once mentioned that no other album seems to closely affect and associate so personally with so many people yet feel still totally under-exposed. It’s hard to articulate why this feels like the perfect album.

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea feels dense and heavy but light and airy at the same time. It is an album of contradictions and paradoxes that never is in service of itself. When you listen to the album, you recognize it as single solid and solitary piece. Each time audiences listen to the album, they will be reminded that what they are experiencing is something different, or perhaps they are re-discovering something they had forgotten all over again.

It is an album that always feels like a mystery — something just barely out of reach of understanding, but you can feel it so close to your fingertips.

No other album ever or since has taken on the ambition of trying to encapsulate what it’s like to live, breathe and think. Lead vocalist Jeff Mangum’s rapid-fire singing and lyrics is like someone trying to remember something really important and reminding you about it before the world ends. It’s an album that took to task the idea to remind us how strange it is to be anything at all.

Give these tracks a listen: “In the Aeroplane over the Sea”, “Holland 1945” and “The Fool”
For Fans Of: Modest Mouse, Arcade Fire


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