I have loved the band Animal Collective for many years now. Their sound is poppy, bizarre, challenging, melodic, haunting–pretty much all the paradoxes that occupy good music. I really like Animal Collective for a few reasons…
a) they are from Baltimore and I used to live there
b) they went to a private school right up the road from the private school I used to teach at
c) I learned about the band from some of my students from the aforementioned private school
d) they are pretty young, mid-20s, and made music that is extremely ambitious for being so young
e) I learned about them pretty early in their career, so have enjoyed watching their evolution.
f) I made a movie for the Surfrider Foundation last year, and quite easily and with a wonderful degree of friendliness was able to get permission from the band to use one of their songs (Leaf House) in the video.
So they just put out a new album called “Merriweather Post Pavilion.” You can stream it online for free at NPR, but it’s also now available for purchase. The album is named after a big outdoor venue in Columbia, MD, about 20-30 minutes away from Baltimore.
I have listened to the album a few times online, and it deserves the hype that it has gotten. By far the early stand-out single the second track, called “My Girls.” It’s a typical Animal Collective while at the same time totally atypical. It’s got complex vocal harmonies that resonate very well, a great bouncy beat, and in general an awesome feel. The best part is the lyrics…which is another way in which I have appreciated Animal Collective. It’s fun to watch them grow from having youthful lyrics to those that speak of their spouses, and in this particular track, their children. It’s hard not to hear this song, read the lyrics, and have your heart warmed by the image of fatherhood.
Is it much to admit I need
A solid soul and the blood I bleed
With a little girl, and by my spouse
I only want a proper house
I don’t care for fancy things
Or to take part in a precious race
And children cry for the one who has
A real big heart and a father’s grace
I don’t mean to seem like I care about material things like a social status
I just want four walls and adobe slabs for my girls