There are some bands from your childhood who you don’t really begin to appreciate until much later in life. That is the case with today’s Stand Out Album, ‘Beautiful Freak’ by Eels.
Why This Album?
I really didn’t get to appreciate Beautiful Freak by Eels until many years after the release of the album in 1996. While I had heard the hit songs from it, like Novocaine for The Soul, Susan’s House and My Beloved Monster, I never really gave E (aka Mark Oliver Everett) and his music much of a chance. This strikes me as strange as it is exactly the kind of music I enjoyed growing up and fits in perfectly with my taste but I guess growing up in a small Texas town does prevent you from discovering some music until much later in life.
Where I really discovered E and his band Eels, was thanks to a coworker nearly ten years ago. My coworker didn’t just like Eels, he was a fan and knew nearly everything about E you would want to know. Much like me and the Posies, this guy loved some Eels and reintroduced me to the musician I too have come to love.
Today’s album is E’s first foray into music as a band and it is remarkably polished and solid for a debut album. The album dives deep into subjects such as depression, loneliness and death at every turn but E has a way of making those things seem not so bad. Each song takes a sad thing and twists it a little to show that sometimes things do get better, even when they feel that they aren’t. With deeply personal lyrics and incredible music, this is an album that you will play over and over, lingering on certain songs for a moment and letting E’s melancholy tone wash over you. Hopeful at times, sorrowful at others, this is one that strikes all the right cords and has easily become one of my very favorite albums in its entirety.
Every track is fantastic on this album, but the ones I identify most with are these three. This first one is called Not Ready Yet. It is about having self doubt and simply not being ready to face the world. Everyone of us has been there at some point, after a great loss or just after a bad day.
The next one is Guest List. Guest List is a song about wanting to be wanted. Starting off with the lyrics,
Are you one of the beautiful people?
Is my name on the list?
Want to be of the beautiful people
Want to feel like I’m missed.
It evokes a feeling of being alone and lonely, something I experienced a lot in my twenties. Had I found this song back then, it would have been a great cathartic song for sure.
Finally, Track 7, Flower.
Flower is just a beautiful song in the form of a prayer asking for some clarity. It is a song that we have all sung in one form or another in the late night when we cant sleep. It’s the prayer that we recite in our heads when we are feeling downtrodden or put upon.
The rest of the album is just as fantastic, maybe even more so, but these three just hit me where it counts. Every. Time.
Ok, Where do I get it?
You can grab a copy of the CD at Amoeba Music for around $15. It is totally worth it and is certainly an album I would recommend to anyone who feels.
If you like this album, you can find all of E’s music with Eels on Spotify but I will warn you, his second album gets pretty dark as it was written at a pretty low point in his life. Nevertheless, it is also really well done.
Till next time,
Late to the Game 2/10/2019
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