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The epitome of the nostalgia and sadness of lost youth,
This review is from: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (Audio CD)
Bit of a pretentious review title, but god, is it true. This is one of the most emotionally effective albums I've ever heard, utilizing both blistering fuzzy rock and heart-renching bare bones acoustic guitar. Mangum's voice has often been critisized, but i can honestly say it is one of the most amazingly moving and imperfectly perfect voices ever to grace music. He strains it as we all do when we are singing about something we really care about, not in the calm control of a prefessional who just has a job, and wishes to entertain. Mangum dosen't care how his voice sounds, (it actually sounds very good), he is just getting his intense emotions out. And his intense emotions are about . . . Anne Frank, a girl who died seventy years ago. In the folk epic "Oh Comley", the height of poetic genius and surley the album's centrepiece, that he wished he could "save her in some sort of time machine".
The album opens with the beautifully clean guitar cords of "The King of Carrot Flowers" a three part song which speeds through a seemingly cheerful song of partner's abuse, hulicinations, incest and lonliness (it seems cheerful because of the music, but it really isn't), which then progresses into the much malighned "I LOVE YOU JESUS CHRIST" section, and then the final part. The third part of this song is possibly the most perfect miniute of music ever to grace human ears. That is only a slight exaggeration. And the intense emotional core of this song is perfected in the highlight of the album, "Ghost". The blistering fuzz blends with Jeff Mangum's transcendent lyrics to create a song full of pure beauty, describing the ascendence of a girl, presumably Anne Frank, to heaven, a song in which includes "milk and holy water, pouring from the sky" and "the morning paper blows, into a hole where no one can escape". It is possibly the most beautiful song ever recorded, certainly in terms of an almost religious, propulsive transcendence. This album, and this song in particular, are expert at creating that flush of feeling in the cheeks.
There are some other great songs here, too. "Two Headed Boy" utilizes the acoustic guitar to full effect, creating a highly emotional ballad, whilst the title track is about as wistful and positive as this album, or any album, gets, containing the line "what a beautiful face i have found in this place". The final song, "Two Headed Boy Part 2". is the exact oppisite, and is one of the most heart-wrenchingly sad songs ever written, containing mad rambling for the most part that seems to be fighting against the end of one's life, and the sadness of its waste. It speaks of brains pouring out of the teeth, and dead ones coming back to life, only to cry. All though at first it seems to contain no reference points to the original "Two Headed Boy", apart from its name, the last thirty seconds of the song mark its return, but in a slower, more contemplative tone, ending the album with a line of infinite beauty (I won't spoil it for you). Just to say, when I first heard it, i was overcome with emotion.
So, the lead single. "Holland 1945" is a tad overrated, and is probably the most straightforward rock track on the album. It does contain some great lyrical imagery, though, such as "now she's a little boy in spain playing painos filled with flames", and I understand why its a fan favourite.
One final note: This is not just for hipsters. My sister likes it, and she has quite a narrow music taste and rejects most of my music as "too weird".