Leaving their legacies: “Merriweather Post Pavilion”


Modern music is catchy and enjoyable, but it’s rare to come across unique, original content that breaks the industry archetype. “Merriweather Post Pavilion” by Animal Collective tackles a completely new brand of music by offering a myriad of uncommon music pieces. The album cannot be classified as pop, rock, classical or jazz, since its unique nature makes its genre hard to pin down. The band explores a new, eccentric style by adding everyday noises and bizarre musical sounds. Animal Collective’s style may seem strange to some, but it will definitely appeal to music venturists.

As its band name suggests, “Animal Collective” creatively integrates sounds from the animal kingdom. The first song “In the Flowers” begins with the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings– an introduction that lays the foundation for the song’s mellow and relaxing mood. In “Also Frightened,” deep, resonating drum beats establish pleasant, smooth transitions from one verse to the next. .As a common theme throughout many of the tracks, Animal Collective uses interesting objects such as wind chimes, single chords and hums not only as quirky additions but also as parts of the songs’ instrumental backbones.

Unfortunately, the lyrical and vocal aspects of “Merriweather Post Pavilion” are disappointing. The general feel of the voices in every song has a masked, auto-tuned quality to it, so this album is not for fans who want to see vocalists thrive. In addition, the two singers Dave Portner and Noah Lennox are often difficult to tell apart in the midst of the complicated and overwhelming sound effects. The majority of the songs focus too strongly on the instrumental aspects of music and fail to adequately develop lyrical themes that are equally as important. Therefore, the subpar depth of the lyrics, coupled with artificial, auto-tuned vocal performances, makes the album harder to enjoy.

A distinct exception to the poor standard of lyrics in the album is the track “Brother Sport,” which utilizes unique beats and repetition to match an emotional story behind the lyrics. The refrain “Open up your…” builds with intensity for two entire minutes until the singer finally reveals his deep desire—and tragic inability—to open up to his friends and family. The combination of incredibly passionate lyrics and suspense of an unfolding secret makes for a riveting listening experience.

“Bluish” is another song on the album that explores the theme of love with an alluring take. The artist longs for the presence of those who are out of sight, and the yearning tone in this song evokes feelings of sadness about meeting strangers and forgetting childhood friends. The lyrics “I’m getting lost in your curls, I’m getting rushed back on a whim” exemplify the artist’s deep infatuation with strangers and the social anxiety he suffers when he tries to connect with them. The engaging expression of lyrics and musical mood is perfectly suited towards the album’s theme of emotional complexity.

“Merriweather Post Pavilion” has both hits and misses. Some songs are intriguing and convey complicated human emotions, while others are simply off-putting because of their unusual styles. This album, although not necessarily a top seller, can still serve as an segue to less popular genres of music. Those looking to grasp a deeper understanding of the range of options music has to offer should consider “Merriweather Post Pavilion” as a starting point.

By Brian Chen, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of iTunes

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