Animal Collective

Yes, I’m thick as a brick. I remain a very opinionated fan of popular music, but that’s not to say I am above reevaluating certain bands that, upon a few listens, I write off as art school hokum. For example, I remember waiting anxiously for Return To Cookie Mountain (TV On The Radio) to be released after reading page after page of glowing reviews. Everyone seemed to love this band, so I gave in to the peer pressure and threw my $12.99 down. After a few listens I felt compelled to write an Amazon review. Here’s what I said:

“Oftentimes a really good album sounds horrible (or just plain plain) upon one or three spins, so when this album didn’t move me the first time, I decided to hang back and try again in a few days. Then again. And again. And one more time. Usually after three or four COMPLETE spins an album’s secret gems will float to the surface and I’ll end up diggin’ it. Sufjian Stevens was like that, to a point, although I now find that album somewhat unlistenable. So, my mantra has always been ‘give it a chance.’

I really wanted to like this one. All the reviews I read, and they were legion, were hyping this as the album of the decade, and I wanted them to be right. Finding a treasure like the album they were explaining is a rare thing.

Unfortunately, none of them were right. It is a plodding, lifeless album wanting desperately to be ‘hip’ and failing miserably, to the point of being embarrassing. It’s like your 40 something hipster college professor with a graying ponytail (who will LOVE this, by the way), started a band with some random beatniks, copies of “On The Road’ tucked under their tweed jackets.

It blows, make no mistake about it.”

All right, enough about TV On The Radio. Ancient history. Let’s chat, briefly, about Animal Collective, the most hyped band of the century, by far. I don’t get them either, but I don’t loathe them Like I loath(ed) TV On The Radio. I can hear the creativity, I like the weirdness and underlying Beach Boys harmonies, I even like a couple of songs off of Merryweather Post Pavilion. Once again a record seems too artsy-fartsy for artsy-fartsy’s sake to my ears. The Pitchfork hallways are soaked with the drool of their writers over this band, and this album, in particular, and I don’t get it.

I know some folks that do, but they cannot give me a decent reason why. So I guess I’m asking, in a roundabout way, for one of you to enlighten me on the features and benefits of this band, if you would. Maybe I’m missing something, maybe you can give me my ‘a-ha!’ moment with AC. ‘Cause I really would like to like these guys.