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Monday, 19 March 2012

2. Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane over the Sea

Only two songs can even bring me anywhere close to tears. The first in 'Electrolite' by REM and the second is 'In the Aeroplane over the Sea'. It's the most exceptional piece of songwriting I've ever heard, but springs from the most unlikely of sources. I really hated 'On Avery Island' and found it virtually unlistenable and to be honest I felt the same about 'In the Aeroplane...' for the first few listens. But then everything clicked into place, and I realised they'd produced an album right on the cusp of genius and disaster. And more by luck and desire than any grand design, it's probably the greatest album ever made.

It's got to be said however, that Jeff Mangum possesses a voice that can shatter glasses, turn milk sour and scare the chickens all at the same time. The music is hardly sparkling and the production is fuzzy, but somehow the will or need for this to be a great album ended in success. It is one of the ultimate triumphs of ambition over lack of ability and I never grow tired of hearing the victory it produced. Apparently it's also a concept album about Anne Frank, but I've never quite understood why this is the case, but if that's where the inspiration came from, then who can knock it?

There are five or six stunning tracks on the album, but the title track says everything you need to know about the record, as well as life, the universe and everything. It was so nearly number one, but there's just one song that resonates more with me. 'When we meet on a cloud, I'll be laughing out loud...'


  1. Eels bring me very close to tears.

  2. The Tallest Man On Earth - Where Do My Bluebird Fly (Live on KEXP) can bring me close to tears