|In the Aeroplane Over the Sea performed by Neutral Milk Hotel ()|
I didn't know it then, but when I purchased the album 'In the Aeroplane Over the Sea' my world changed. When I put the album into my CD player, I did it with a naivete of someone who thought they'd 'heard it all.' I did it clumsily, with haste, handled like a Beatles or Beach Boys album, the way I had done for years. When I listened to the album I did it with reckless abandon while driving 38 miles per hour on my lunch break, and later in the drive-through at McDonald’s. These mistakes were inherited, and I refuse blame. They were passed through the genetic make-up of our peers and born out of the music we've been given; I didn't expect this! Well, our music has changed, and it did so without our knowing and our approval. This album proved and disproved an entire treatise of critical analysis on a generation of music that I thought I had known, and it did so with a fucking velvet sledgehammer.
The lyrics: "And one day we will die and our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea, but for now we are young let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see." More lyrics: "What a beautiful face I have found in this place that is circling all around the sun, what a beautiful dream that would flash in the screen in a blink of an eye and be gone from me." The melody: A timeless, haunting thing that was metaphysically resurrected from a wiser place. The voice: Wrenched out of the jaws of a holocaust from 50 years ago, we hear a possessed Jeff Mangum invest his soul. The sound: An apocalypse that can reinvent the turntable by it’s simplistic form; with a saw, guitar, drum, bass, horns, and lord knows what else all handled with deceptive elegance of a garage mechanic constructing a supermodel. And, lastly, the spirit: A tragedy and rape of virginity known only to the persecuted and executed; the ghost of Anne Frank materializes long enough to show us her world, and in her hands we are strangely at peace.
This song is a gift very few will experience. It is endless in its reach and should be accepted like a sibling into your collection. It will one day prove itself beyond category, but for now it is a masterful novel from the hands of a mysterious songwriter who should know how sincerely I cherish his songs.