|Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea|
Originally released on February 10, 1998, this album became the defining release in the short-lived and posthumously ongoing career of Neutral Milk Hotel. I say posthumously ongoing because after the album the band went on a hiatus that has yet to see an end. The album has marched its way from relative obscurity upon release (due to little interest from listeners) to garnering honors like #2 on Amazon.com's 100 greatest indie rock albums of all time. The vinyl pressing of the album was the sixth-best-selling vinyl album in 2008. All of these accolades are nice, but they cannot even begin to describe the influence that the album has had on music in general. A personal favorite reference was one by Jesse Lacey of the band Brand New in an audio interview that he gave. Lacey stated that upon first listening to the album he thought that it was O.K. and went on with listening to other albums. He continued by saying that later on he gave the album another listen and fell in love with it. He stated that the album is one of a few that he takes on tour with him. This type of influence is well merited as the album impresses with a sound that soars and swells from the highest highs to the lowest lows. A trip through the spectrum of sound guided by the one and only Jeff Magnum.
This album has a unique sound that swells to become as large as the listener can handle. The instrumentation is varied and varies by song. The album flows so well from beginning to end that one might mistake it for one epic track that carries over between individual songs. The album has a truly indie sound to it that brings in the likes of folk rock with soaring guitars and even a vibraphone. The album is truly diverse and offers an experience that few listeners will soon forget. The lyrics are often vague, which has been cited as a negative for the album, but which I feel adds to the motif of the album. The story is one that encompasses that trials that many faced during World War II and thus is equally as vague. Overall the sound defines a landmark for indie music.
*Warning this album is not for the casual listener.
This album is an album that has had an impact on me personally and as such I will try not to be biased when giving out a grade. I will say only that the album is something that, if given a chance few will dislike (outside of those who do not like this type of music obviously).
I give this album a 4.5 - 5
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