Artist Of The Decade: Animal Collective

October 29, 2009

As I’ve been trying to go out of my way and listen to the four Animal Collective albums I posted over the week(and life threw a whole buncha curve balls and fast balls at me), I realized how difficult it is for anyone to get into this band. But at the same time, I realized how wonderful this band is. How magical they can be. How much they are being missed by the masses.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Animal Collective is an indie rock band, and that’s the best way to describe them – independent rock. They do indeed rock but aren’t afraid to go mellow, relax, thoughtful, or down right scare the Hell out of you. But they weren’t always like this. Unfortunately.

My first memory of the band is probably seeing Sung Tongs listed as someone’s top CD of 2003. I can’t say I went right out and bought it, but I do remember taking note of it, seeing as how I was slowly getting into indie rock at the time. In spring of 2005 they performed at my college’s festival, which apparently is an everywhere kinda thing. They weren’t the freak-folk they were supposed to be. Instead they were noisy. I remember their first song was totally incomprehensible, loud, heartfelt, and strangely moving. I was so impressed with the noise and building I thought it was a religious experience. I didn’t come out of it with any great understanding of life, but building noise music was definitely quite exciting for me. I went and used a Pepsi download for iTunes to download one of their songs – the instant I got home it wouldn’t wanna play cause of the IP Address.

My next real memory of the band was one I can still put my hands on, it was buying their next CD entitled Feels. And at this time I felt very alone. A lot of my college buddies went off to the study abroad program, and I was left by my lonesome with some weirdo I didn’t know. Further, I turned 21 that year, which meant the one thing every college kid has to do – drink too much too often. Fortunately at that time I was in love with wine, and would strangely mix white wine with orange soda (it’s pretty good, really!). But at that same time I would overplay Feels cause it was so good, and it was their “love” album (basically noisy twee pop, but this was before I knew about twee pop). In turn, it made me obsess over a girl at college (oh, the wine too!), which is a horrible thing to do, but hey, love songs, wine, what do you expect?

By the time their next album Strawberry Jam was out, I was a completely different person and in a completely different situation. I was at home, graduated college, and thought I was on top of the world. Only, I wasn’t. The album itself was kinda strange and not what I remembered when it came to Animal Collective. While there were some songs that were quite catchy, there were a lot at the end that kinda went no where – I remember saying it’s a good follow-up to both Sung Tongs and Feels, but it wasn’t what I hoped for. I did love a few songs, most notably “For Reverend Green” because of its over-the-top bridge. But the new direction they were going wasn’t for me – and how fitting, the direction I was going in life wasn’t for me either. Or, so I thought, for both.

Their most recent outing, Merriweather Post Pavilion is absolutely amazing. This is their “pop” record. And while I know many will get the album, many will not think it’s what they hoped for, some will love it but hate their other work, and others will just fall in love. Every song should be on the singles chart (well, okay, not really), or at least used in the latest teen movie (okay, again, a huge overstatement). This really is their pop album, and everything they wanted to achieve. It’s perfect. I wouldn’t give it the high rating Pitchfork did, and personally I think Feels is the much better album (there are times MPP is reminiscent of their other work), but I would definitely tell a friend who has heard of them to give that one a spin.

Since listening to that album, many of their other albums fell into place. Strawberry Jam is wonderful but still difficult. It’s probably got the best song with the best chorus on it (“Chores”‘s “Well I got these chores/and I’m never gonna hurt no one”), both forward thinking and honest. Sung Tongs is so beautiful and homemade it makes you wonder just what you and your best friend can do with a guitar in one of your homes. But this is exactly what the band is about. There can be beauty between two people, either a friendship or a love relationship, or even just hanging out with your newest pal. There is nothing wrong with being yourself, and putting it out there for everyone to hear. You will perfect your craft, you will have people notice you. It isn’t for fame or fortune, it’s just sharing what you think is wonderful about this world. Even if we’re just a collection of animals.


5 Responses to “Artist Of The Decade: Animal Collective”

  1. If only any of the records was as good as this post.

  2. You could – and should – have taken it as a compliment on your writing. But if we’re having a semantic argument it’s surely more arrogant to describe a band as the ‘artist of the decade’ than to say that they’re not.

  3. bigh012345 said


    I do thank you for complimenting my writing – I’m not the greatest but now and then I do come up with something good.

    I hate this hipster stuff though – this band’s awesome and if you don’t like them you suck – gimmie a break!

    I *DO* appreciate you reading an article on a band you don’t like though, which really makes me think my writing’s quite good then!

  4. is very informative. The article is very professionally written. I enjoy reading every day.

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