Animal Collective's Hippie Poetry


From Pitchfork's seismic 9.6 score to Tuesday's TWP rave from Chris Richards, there's been no shortage of love for the superlative sonic stylings of Animal Collective's "Merriweather Post Pavilion."

Of course there isn't, as it's a terrific-sounding serving of musical rapture that finds the sweet spot between experimental electronic music and euphoric folk jams. (I got a fever, and the only cure is ... more didgeridoo!)

But what about the lyrics?

So far, they haven't really registered with me, as I've been too transfixed by the woozy harmonies, shimmering textures and effervescent rhythmic patterns to pay the words much mind. But maybe I need to, as a quick sampling of the "Merriweather Post Pavilion" lyric sheet suggests that this merry band of Maryland indie-rock hippies graduated from the school of ... well, some really expensive private school where they want you to be in touch with your feelings or something.

Don't believe me? Check out these two hippie-poetry samples.

One is by Animal Collective, another is from some random person's personal Web site. (Said person regards her work so highly that it's collected on what she calls the Bad Poetry Page.) See if you can guess which one is AC's.

Example 1a:
I chase after your thoughts
Antelopes followed by a lumbering lioness
I don't believe you are ever wrong.

Example 1b:

A dancer who was high in a field from a moment
Caught my breath on my way home
Couldn't stop that spinning force
I fell into you.

(The answer - plus more AC/random poets comps - after the jump.)

Example 2a:
In the flame center of your eyes
I see Utopian dream world far away.

Example 2b:
When we share our points of view
You get a glimpse of me
I get a glimpse of you.

Example 3a:
Is it much to admit I need
A solid soul and the blood I bleed.

Example 3b:
In your eyes I am only myself
And the world only what is seen, touched, tasted

Example 4a:
Let's see the sound of the heat from the sound of the rain
It's easy to sleep when I'm with my brain.

Example 4b:
I am me, that's all that I can be
No more, no less, never to be second-guessed.

Example 5a:
Birds sing and in the air the sound of spring
And in the wind the flowers bring
Their presents to the day.

Example 5b:
Feeling envy for the kid who danced in spite of anything
And we're out in the flowers and feel better
If I could just leave my body for the night.

1a: Random poet
1b: Animal Collective

2a: Random poet
2b: Animal Collective

3a: Animal Collective
3b: Random Poet

4a: Animal Collective
4b: Random poet

5a: Dennis Wilson!
5b: Animal Collective

By J. Freedom du Lac |  January 15, 2009; 12:51 PM ET Animal Collective , Hippies , Indie Rock , Lyrics
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Ugh. I don't care much about lyrics -- why pay attention when they're usually horrible? -- but these aren't great. Hopefully each bit stands up better in the context of the entire song.

What's horribly lame about Pitchfork is they will never dissect the inane lyrics of a band like Animal Collective. If The Killers' Brandon Flowers had written any of the above samples, he would have been publicly skewered. But if Pitchfork gave a random taste test to its readers, I'd bet The Killers' lyrics would perform no worse than those of Animal Collective or other bands in the "9.0 and Above" club.

Reminds me of something written about Chrissie Hynde years ago...if she wrote the lyric "I'm taking my ball and going home" she would be called a brat. If Prince wrote it he'd be called a genius.

Posted by: GPinTN | January 16, 2009 11:03 AM

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