Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Hate Binky: Why Animal Collective Sucks

subtitle: "And Why Their New Album Sucks As Much As Anything Else They've Done"



Sometimes I think the world would be a better place if I was Robert Christgau. Universally respected, receiving dozens of promotional CDs every week, holding the taste of American music nerds beneath my thumb, saving my audience from devolving into musical ignorami. Whenever the blogosphere echo-chambers itself into an insulated consensus on something that is plainly, clearly crap, this desire dominates my thoughts.

That has been my state of mind since the release (actually, since the online leak) of Animal Collective's new album, Merriweather Post Pavilion. I personally believe Animal Collective is the worst popular band on the planet. This includes the likes of Katy Perry, The Fray, and such. Those acts are treated as what they are. Animal Collective is very much not; they are praised to high heaven for things that they very plainly are not doing.

Of late, it has been impossible to read a music blog without encountering some sort of moronic embellishment of AC's place in American culture. (Actual importance: zero.) And after two solid months of this, I'm on my very last nerve.

I have taken a lot of time to think this through. My dislike for AC is very much a rational, cold-blooded loathe. I do not like them, Sam I Am. There are things they've done that I like, but these are very clearly an exception. They stand for everything I despise in music. I simply wish they did not exist. I wish they'd never met each other. I wish at the very least that they each had the goddamn common sense to listen to the "music" they make together and never lift a microphone again.

But more than the music itself, their place in conversation irritates me to no end. I'm flatly shocked that anyone who knows a single fucking thing about music would be ignorant enough to consider them anything more than a curiosity. They are built to appeal to a minority of weirdos, to be taken with an entire shaker of salt. You don't see people clamoring for mainstream acceptance of Aphex Twin, or Squarepusher, or other freak electronic acts.

And yet that is the tenor of any discussion when it comes to AC. They are extremely popular within an insular circle of highly abnormal people, located far from reality, that apparently has taken it upon themselves to speak for the rest of us. Any website worth my attention has batted around this ridiculous Colbertian meme: "Merriweather Post Pavilion. Great album, or greatest album?" It is a discussion for lunatics who need to leave their homes before presenting their final answers. Who died and made Animal Collective king?

To make clear, my objections are not based on taste. I roll my eyes when someone raves about a piece of shit band like Grizzly Bear or No Age, but poor taste in music is not the issue. Loathing aside, I will grant that there is an audience for this kind of music. This is very much the most ridiculous critical response to music I have ever witnessed.

The problem, to me, is one of defining the basic terms of the discussion. Love or hate, music has certain qualities that cannot be argued. Happy, dreary, energetic, angular, poppy... there are grey areas for sure, but for the most part these are qualities that are is-or-isn't propositions.

Animal Collective's supporters, to a person, are using alternate definitions of terms that no rational listener could possibly use. They are describing something completely different than what you will hear. And as the last 20-30 years of politics have proven, if you refuse to define your terms the way everyone else does, you cannot have a dialogue.

Let's break down exactly where the problems lie:

  • "Something accessible and complete" - Pitchfork album review

Um, no. It is exactly as inaccessible as anything they've ever done. I have a very tolerant and patient ear now, and I cannot fucking bear to sit around and wait six minutes for Animal Collective to get to the point of their song (if they ever do). I will grant them credit for a veritable cornucopia of bits and pieces of ideas. But they are satisfied just with that, with taking one idea and repeating it ad nauseum for 7-8 minutes. Complete, yes. A complete fucking waste of time.


  • "Danceable and insanely catchy" - Pitchfork track review of "My Girls"

Well, maybe not. If I learned anything from my time with MPP, it's that "My Girls" is actually a pretty good song. It has glaring weaknesses, but I do see why it would have some appeal. It's the closest they come to a real song, though it still lacks anything besides its main musical idea. It's harmless.

That said... the whole song is Panda Bear wailing away over a chord progression (another rarity for them) that doesn't go anywhere. And this is what passes for "insanely catchy" these days? Really? Really??? "My Girls" should be treated as what it is: a step forward, but still very Animal Collective. But because "My Girls" sounds like fucking "Hey Jude" compared to everything else AC has done, they are giving it that much credit. A guy uses echo effects on his voice, ONE technique Brian Wilson used with the Beach Boys, and suddenly they ARE the Beach Boys.

To me, it's like the Chris Rock routine where he talks about people being proud of themselves for things they're supposed to do. "I take care of MY kids," "I ain't never been to jail," and so forth, with Rock's reaction being "of COURSE you supposed to take care of your kids!" This apparently is how everyone thinks Animal Collective just reinvented music because they employed a chord change. If you expect me to give them a pat on the fucking back for that, you are barking up the wrong asshole. Their next accessible and complete musical idea will be their first.

  • "Gorgeous," "Animal Collective's music is for everyone's world" - PopMatters, author of which is named for what I think AC's music is most accurately described as


"Gorgeous" isn't a universal word, so my objections to that are beyond the topic. It's a word that gets most critics into a hole in my book. They will pick up some faux-choral piece of shit like Grizzly Bear or Joanna Newsom and praise it for its beauty. Earth to critic: it is a fucking lo-fi indie rock record that cost $4000 to record, so no, it's not fucking beautiful. It exposes the author as someone who has never heard a symphony, or isn't caught up on his Miles Davis. In this context, it just makes you look stupid.

As to the suggestions of universality, I laugh in your idiotic fucking face. No, Animal Collective is not music for the world of your average black kid in Roxbury, now is it? Or an 85-year-old Southern socialite? Or a Tokyo schoolgirl? If the author thought for just one fucking second before typing that sentence, he would have removed it. Hackery at its finest.

Seriously. What is with the superlatives? I thought the job of the critic was to put something in perspective, not to hide the perspective up one's ass while typing away.

  • "Orgasmic rush of danceable rock" - Paste, in a truly embarrassing non-review

No, no, no. This guy compared Animal Collective to Girl Talk. That is so fucking obviously inappropriate that this dipshit should be barred from music criticism for the rest of his life. He moves on to suggest that MPP is a rave record by ending his review with "hand me that glow stick." Jesus Tapdancing Fucking Christ. He hit so many wrong buttons that I'm surprised he didn't use the P word.

Look, I have done my due diligence. I have studied MPP relentlessly, thinking that America cannot possibly be as stupid as I'd assumed. I was wrong. Hoping against hope that I had somehow missed some kind of revelatory advance in their music, I found that I had not. MPP is exactly the same droning, meandering, path to nowhere that their other work provides. "My Girls" is probably their best work, but it doesn't give anyone the ability to use the words that were used. None of the above quotes have any foundation in truth whatsoever.

The music being described by those quotes is The Hold Steady. LCD Soundsystem. Cut Copy. Hot Chip, maybe. Those are poppy, accessible acts. They share absolutely nothing with Animal Collective.

Here's our experiment. Below is a high-def embed of the aforementioned "danceable" song, "My Girls." So get on up and shake that thang!



Come on, let's see you dance to it. Go right ahead. It's danceable, right? If it doesn't look like the Elaine Benes dance, I'll be shocked. I want to see a wedding reception go bananas to this song. Because it's danceable, so naturally a group of regular people will dance to it, right?

See, that's what kills me. Use a better word, and I have no objection whatsoever. But if we can't agree on basic vocabulary, then we can't have a discussion. They've used a word that does not apply, but that they WISHED would apply... so it was used it anyway.

There is a baseline, control sense of these words that you have to consider before using them to describe this weirdo, hipster shit. Ignore the general sense, and you either look like a fucking idiot, or you look like you're lying. If the average person were to hear from a litany of national food critics that the bowl of corn-riddled turds he's eating is in fact a hazelnut creme brulee with a raspberry amaretto reduction, apparently he'll eventually believe it. But not me. I'm not eating one kernel of Merriweather Post Pavilion. It's shit. It's a big bowl of shit.

Here's the deal. The method for connecting to Animal Collective's super-cerebral electronica is similar to that of the more inaccessible "free jazz" artists that emerged in the early 1960s. Ornette Coleman is considered an important artist; in my opinion, his entire career is a pile of nihilistic, anti-musical shit. Cecil Taylor, whose output is far more worthy of praise, was noted in the famous Jazz miniseries to have encouraged his fans to "study" for his appearances; I agree 100% with Wynton Marsalis's contention that music should not require homework. In each sense, Animal Collective's blueprint for appreciation is identical to Taylor's and Coleman's. Understanding them requires a non-musical approach, an emphasis on craft over the end product, with repeat listens a concrete requirement. You put in your homework and you get something out of it. No homework, no benefit.

I personally don't care for that, but that's what it is. It's not pop, accessible, danceable, or anything even remotely fucking close to that. It's homework. It's OBVIOUSLY homework.

So obvious, in fact, that I don't think the above quotes are simply wrong or misguided. They do not simply exhibit poor taste. The language used to describe MPP is so woefully inaccurate that I can't see it as anything other than reflexive opinions that could be used to describe any indie band making a leap.

But there's no leap. They WANT the band to have made the leap, so they make it for them. The cart has been placed before the horse.

In other words, the reaction is intentionally dishonest and misleading. The music has been set aside, leaving the context and growth to be considered apart from their actual achievements. A nation of buffoonish critics wants to elevate a pet band of theirs to prominence without merit, to flex its muscles just to show that it can do so regardless of whether there is justification. It's widespread, willful ignorance. And it makes all of us look stupid.

After all this venting, the question remains: what makes this such a special case? Why single them out? What harm are they doing?

It's very simple. Animal Collective is the Evangelical Christianity of indie rock. Harmless in theory, abusive and dangerous in practice.

* Their fans are more prone to proselytizing than any other band I'm aware of. They just cannot shut their fucking yaps about how awesome Animal Collective is, how they're so poppy and how everyone else needs to love them. Just like the average born-again. They can't tolerate anyone who thinks otherwise, can't understand why anyone would. The rest of us, those of us in the silent majority who do, can only roll our eyes at how hopeless, how detached from reality, one must be to feel that way.

* Just as evangelical wingnuts are allowed to control political discourse in America, Animal Collective wingnuts are allowed to dictate the future of music. The fundamental (so to speak) flaws in their belief is never addressed, because it's a matter of not looking like you don't get it. Just like political figures would never take a bat to the evangelicals like they deserve.

* It's not the band's fault, just like the evangelicals aren't God's fault. AC, much to my chagrin, are just doing their thing. I don't like it, but in a vacuum, they are free to do it. The off-the-mark reception and analysis of their music is the problem. Remember, God's a cool guy. His followers are the retards, not him.

* The holy-rolling clowns who praise Jesus and act on his behalf... the guys telling me to eschew condoms, to hate Muslims, to let the FCC parent my children... do not understand the fucking Bible one bit. But they follow Jesus anyway, to make sure everyone else knows they love Jesus more than you. Likewise, those who praise Animal Collective don't understand the music's flaws one bit, but they want so desperately to get Animal Collective that this is what their praise sounds like.

That last item is the killer. It's a group of people trying to will their nutbag idea of reality into the mainstream, without merit, just because a lot of people on the internet say so. If internet discussion has taught us anything, it's that the silent majority cannot be won over. Just because two hundred dopes on the internet say something, it doesn't mean that anyone else gives half a shit about it.

In my heart of hearts, the release of Merriweather Post Pavilion is an apocalyptic event in the world of music. It has exposed all of the very worst things about the internet revolution. It gives wingnuts a voice, much like the Bush administration did. But wingnuts they are. And nobody has stood up to call a spade a spade.

So here I am. Just like those who feel the need to walk up and down the sidewalk wearing only a pair of socks and a signboard, I'm here to warn you. The end is nigh.

UPDATE: I should reference this, just for clarity's sake. Having re-read Carles's post for the first time in a few weeks, the evangelism idea very clearly comes from his original observation. I'm not that clever.

81 comments:

  1. you seem to be a well-versed musical critic with a trained ear. please link me to something YOU have created. anything. are you a musician? and not just a musician, have you ever recorded anything at all? performed it? or do you just preach without ANY idea AT ALL what you are talking about

    cheers

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  2. Thanks for reading.

    But with all due respect, that's not an argument. You're no more qualified to make that accusation than I am. What have you done that makes YOU the expert?

    More importantly, do you think the fellow who reviewed MPP for Paste is a professional musician? How about the Pitchfork cabal? Are they in a band? Has Mark Richardson recorded something of value? They have exactly the same qualification to praise MPP as I have to trash it.

    Criticize the argument, not my musicianship. I've got 2500 words that say MPP sucks. Billions of words have been spilled on how great it is, and I spoke up against it. Is there a reason my argument is wrong, or is it just that I've got no right to think differently than everyone else?

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  3. Just wanted to point out that extreme bashing will not help to balance the extreme praise. Precisely because your disdain for the band's fans and reviewers is too extreme. If you had tried to be a bit more rational, it might have helped.

    I am not a fanboy, nor am I a young person. I am new to AC's music, and despite your attempts to make them out to be worthless pond scum, I am not swayed in the least.

    I am not going to say that they have achieved some sort of God status, but there is certainly room in the industry for experimental music. A style of music that marginal critics seldom learn to appreciate.

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  4. Thanks for the feedback, Tim. What you're saying is perfectly reasonable. There's plenty of room for them. And if it were just that, I'd have never felt compelled to speak.

    What I'm talking about is placing them at the center of the universe. You may not grant them any sort of God status, but you are very much in the minority on that.

    My goal, assuming I had one, was to attack this nonsense about universality. Like them or not, I cannot believe a rational person could claim to see something universal in their music. It's weird, it's dense, it's difficult, it's very much inaccessible. And damn near nobody will admit this.

    I'm glad you used the word "experimental." This is exactly what I would like to have seen from everyone else, recognizing them for what they are.

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  5. Funny - I had just come around to your position of "my girls" isn't the worst song currently on the radio, and then you drop this massive post.

    I agree with your assessment of their music, and of your assessment of the critics utter failure. That said, I don't think the result is nearly as world-ending as you claim. Troubling, yes, but more of a latest-hyperbole than anything newly catastrophic.

    That said, while I do kind of like "my girls", the chorus "I don't mean to seem like I care about material things..." is fucking horrible. Just horrible. I want to punch them even more than VW for penning that chorus. Interestingly, that horrible chorus speaks volumes when applied to their music - they're saying, we don't care to be popular (because we're not making pop music - a sentiment I can appreciate), all we need is a basic structure to house our unique sound (four walls - a 4/4 beat), created just for us and our immediate circle.

    Oh, and no one should dance to this, ever. Except maybe Stimpy, doing some kind of joyful fart-dance, pooting out in rhythm to the fake toy horns. Seeing that would justify AC's existence for me.

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  6. I encourage your criticism of the critics. Their opinions have nothing to do with the music itself. I wasn't attacking that part of your argument.

    I mean to articulate that one ought be careful when one attempts to discount the viability of the music itself with no background in the production, performance, or composition of music. Let alone music like Animal Collective makes--which is far from typical. Like it or hate it, I don't care. The popular appeal of this album is unwarranted, agreed. But it's a work of art that took a great deal of talent to make, and is a feat that not many are capable of. You cannot say it's not a legitimate piece of music because it doesn't appeal to your tastes.

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  7. Alex: My Girls is indeed fine. I wouldn't discourage you from liking it, as even despite this screed of mine I still enjoy the song quite a lot.

    As to the other thing, hype bands (VW, CYHSY, MGMT, et al) always seem to have a group of haters on their ass from the get-go. People are just predetermined to hate their guts because they became popular. So where are these standard issue haters when it comes to Animal Collective? What, they're made men or something? I don't buy that.

    Mr. Sweeney: fair enough. I mean, I would describe it differently... I see lots of effort and expertise, but not talent per se. To me, a truly talented person would have synthesized AC's whizzbang of noise into something that actually IS universal. But that's splitting hairs at this point. I see what you're saying.

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  8. much as I disagree with you about how poppy AC is - my comfort zone is in the "freak electronic acts" domain - and the quality of Ornette Coleman's work, I share your dumbfoundedness at the disturbingly unanimous embrace of this band. "Evangelical Christianity of indie rock?" PERFECT, way to articulate exactly why these guys nauseate me.

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  9. Thank you for this. I've been completely dumbfounded, and irritated, to the point of no longer visiting many of the music blogs I used to check out to hear new music.... solely because of the CONSTANT nonsense flattery of Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear.

    I understand that people have different tastes. Great. But when it gets to the level of overlooking and ignoring good music... in the interest of promoting every single mundane, worthless live recording or cover song done by one of these 2 crap bands... it's just too much... and I lose any interest in visiting these blogs any further.

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  10. I happen to know for a FACT that Merriweather Post Pavilion is a great album.

    You either get it or you don't. You don't. Writing 2500 words about how much it sucks won't make it suck.

    You may just have to accept that you don't get this masterpiece of an album and move on.

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  11. Say what you will about the tenets of the evangelical Christianity of indie rock, at least it's an ethos.

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  12. I did move on. I wrote this four and a half months ago. I'm all done.

    But since I'm here now, thank you for being EXACTLY what I was talking about. I could not have proven the latter third of my post true without you.

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  13. Don't listen to these fools. You are 100 percent correct. Well, actually in my eyes, maybe not 100 percent. Because I haven't been able to listen to ANY AC and say I enjoy it. Particularly "my girls". I also think Ornette Coleman did make one great album, "the shape of jazz to come". even if the rest of it may suck. At that point, I think musicianship and innovation were at a good point.

    As far as I'm concerned, AC is not talented anymore than Grizzly Bear/Panda Bear/Caribou/Dirty Projectors. As you said though, I think all four are treated as today's Stones/Beatles/Beach Boys/etc. Even though the best comparison between these bands and the fore bearers is that these kids all sound like they took acid at harvard and listened to pet sounds once and then maybe an aphex twin album, now they're geniuses? NO man. But, like evangelicals, clearly it's the fault of those who DON'T LIKE it being close minded.

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  14. "I happen to know for a FACT that Merriweather Post Pavilion is a great album." Fuck off. I happen to know for a FACT you are an idiot.

    Also if you think it was difficult to produce (or even write) an album like MPP, then you don't know much about production or song construction. I don't think there's a tune on it that couldn't be boshed out in an hour. Modern computers have made the argument for experimental production deserving reverence redundant. Consider a tune like Tomorrow Never Knows - that deserves respect, if simply because of the extent that they pushed the technology available at the time to make it.

    Great post man, really well argued and written - the overhype of average music is killing music. Well music journalism at least: who can trust reviewers these days?

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  15. Wooooooooh! I kind of half like, half tolerate AC. I find MPP especially effective for drowning out the sounds of dog barks and neighbors' SUV doors. I could dance to 'My Girls', but haven't yet been inclined to try. If i find myself in a warehouse of 1000 people with pulsating strobes, and that tune comes on, I will likely gyrate with the crowd in celebration of simple, sustainable adobe housing and fatherhood.

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  17. there's nothing unique about animal collective.

    if people were like "man this is cool stuff" i'd be like "i disagree" and be OK with it all.

    but people act like there's something unique about them.

    busy electronics and reverby vocals. and otherwise they sound like every other indie rock band out there. ooh ooh ooh, tight bands unshowered in a bar with cigarettes, apathetic and hungover.

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  18. I just googled "animal collective sucks" and this was the first post. That's a good thing.

    I saw them live last year, expecting something at least entertaining... and it was the most boring show I've ever seen.

    This band is the stereotypical hipster band. There's a reason for that.

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  19. I did the same thing -- Googled "animal collective sucks." I usually favor un-poppy acts, and this band nearly bores me right into a freaking coma.

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  20. thegreatestmofo.blogspot.com

    Matt Straw

    Bloomington, Indiana

    I agree completely, that is part of why I've started my own blog.

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  21. Ha! I also googled "animal collective sucks." I was with you until the evangelicals bit. Your comparison is weak, you're comparing the AC "hub bub" to the main stream media's cliche view of evangelicals. I can't hold it against you, though. The negative cliche's about evangelicals are shoved down our throats the same way AC is shoved in my face by every hipster.

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  22. Dave, feel free to cast aside my biases re: the Christian faith; I'm a recovering Catholic, and my views on the subject aren't for everyone.

    Hating on Animal Collective, meanwhile, IS for everyone. It's an all-inclusive interfaith initiative... Democrat or Republican, gay or straight, Christian or Muslim or Jew or other, black or white or anything in between, everyone is welcome. As long as you think Animal Collective is for shit, you're on the path to salvation.

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  23. Thank god that there is somebody with 1/3 of their brain still intact. My girlfriend told me to listen to this band a month ago, and ever since I've been on a one-man hate campaign. And no, it's not blind hatred. It's deep-seeded, well-founded, deserved hatred. I've listened to as many of their "songs" as I can, and THIS "BAND" SUCKS!! If you buy a drum machine, take 5 ecstasy pills, and wear headbands, and convince two of your lesser musically inclined friends to do the same, you can be animal collective. I heard some guy compare them to the beatles in terms of musicianship and cultural impact. WHAT?! This is the most boring, over-hyped, cheap, easy, simplistic garbage ever made. It is cheesy to the extreme, like the osmonds having a musical child with post-sonny cher. Grade A hackery. pseudo-intellectual clowns who want to portray images of musicians, but lack the ability to play instruments. I do disagree with you on their pop sensibilities. They have more in common with britney spears than their so called icons, the grateful dead. this is the singularly lamest shit anybody can make. do these guys even play any instruments on any of their songs or just hit buttons on their MPCs? this takes 0 talent and 0 vision. I hate them, their music, and their fans. Rant over. Phew.

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  24. Dear Jeff, Thank you. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. That was an solid article. I just recently discovered Animal Collective, I was told to check them out because my friend liked them and thought they were similar to some bands I like. I went on youtube and watched maybe a dozen or so songs.. out of those 12 songs not a single song I found had any direction. I found one video with two of them strumming guitars in open tuning, blurting out sad excuses for lyrics.. where is the talent??? they're a disgrace to indie and jam bands they're trying to sound like. Worst yet they seem to lack substance and heart. There's no oomph behind any of what they do.

    How does anyone get into this? If you're looking for the uniqueness/strangeness I've heard people say they like about them, I can name a dozen better bands. I don't understand the appeal of these guys. That being said, please enlighten me, seriously, I'm listening.

    Oh.. and I am a musician(that's why AC makes me so upset), and I have recorded and performed for people(just for fun, it's not my career), so don't play that card.

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  26. I occasionally do searches for negative reviews of MPP because I'm so disappointed in it and its reception. Some of AC's work is very dear to me. I love experimental music. I love pop music. I love captivating music, but MPP is not and not worthy of so much praise. 2009 has seen some of my favorite artists release superbly mediocre work.

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  27. Great post, agree with you 100%.

    I don't understand why they are getting all this publicity. I do enjoy the occasional avante garde/noisy music.

    But this has no soul or any music to it, what a waste of 58 minutes. I have tried to listen and it just won't grow, Embryonic grew a hell of a lot quicker on me, and that is some noise at points.

    Just because you can hit buttons on a bunch of electronic toys doesn't make you a musician.

    Check out Olivia Tremor Control and see what real musicians can do with real tape....as opposed to playing on toys from the local toy store.

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  28. YES and YES. I too have been searching the internet for ANY sign of a negative review for this album. MPP effin' blows. Jeff, you nailed it - it's homework. Its worse - it's studying for an exam. It's painful.

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  29. I just wanted to write and say thank you for such an articulate, obviously well expressed article. I've felt much the same way, but your observations were.. thought provoking to say the least.

    While others are defending the accusations you make in this comments section, what I find most interesting is that they seem to be backhanded praise for the band, and not the bigger issue at stake which you -clearly- lay out.

    The state of modern music criticism, and how it's being abused. Now, I'm by no means advocating that a critic has to be Mailer or Hemingway (if they were... perhaps they'd be contributing a piece of literature to the world, as opposed to criticism of pop albums) but they do have a place which, like most art, should come from a sense of obvious responsibility by their position. I.E. it's something you clearly express, which others seem like they're overlooking.

    Anyways, I digress. Fantastic post, and I appreciate not being the only one who feels this way.

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  30. yeah, spot on here Jeff. I've been looking for something that articulated my sincere distaste for the so called album of the year.

    My first exposure to AC was at Sasquash over the summer and I was just dumbfounded how terrible they are.

    any of these people that disagree can suck it!!

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  32. i think you're right for the most part, but I think you're over-thinking their music, in general, which is actually non-demanding. Their lyrics aren't challenging anyone-- nor meant to be challenging, they don't demand attention, they're just kind of obfuscated. People "think" it's dance music, i guess, because some of it sounds "fun" and "bubbly" or the like; they want to associate fun and bubbly with dance music. You said it yourself, it's harmless. It's creative at times... there are some unusual sounds... the band seems to be having fun and doing what they want. I wouldn't lose sleep over it. I like their first 3 efforts, but I don't get much out of their newer materials since "Sun Tongs." I wouldn't hold it against them. your critique is more of a diatribe against misinterpretations of their body of work and their reviewers, not of them. Also, I wouldn't compare them to Ornette Coleman at all, why bother? Seems like a misplaced reference. No one is studying this shit, they are just getting stoned to it. I think the harshness of your viewpoint is off-base, but you make some valid points. The essence of your argument is just based on your aversions the "false claims" out there, the hyperbolic dancing and hoops other "critics" are jumping through. Anyway, I can see that. It's probably not worth the time though, they probably don't take their music as seriously as you do.

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  33. Sorry, but I felt asleep a half way through your non-sense rant...but if it makes you feel better, you are right: ANCO (not "AC"), as hipsters call them are perhaps the most overrated band of the last decade. You are wrong about Grizzly Bear, though. Overrated? Sure. But these guys do their "homework" and it shows.

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  34. Anton, you're pretty much on the money there. If the criticism is more varied, more trustworthy, then this post never happens.

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  35. One needs to be well educated with a wide variety of contemporary music in order to more fully comprehend and appreciate AC's music. Life's not perfect pal, so not everything is going to be easy to get into.

    Check out music from the likes of kraftwerk, basic channel, minimal techno in general, dub music, scott walker, RAYMOND SCOTT, silver apples, just to name a few...

    AC's certainly not the first band to get recognition for their "weirdness". Hell, the Beatles were probably just as over people's heads as AC is in their day with certain songs. But even they were not the first.

    Maybe you're just rebellious at heart, and it's ironic because that's sort of what animal collective's music is doing for the industry anyways; breaking down the social mutiny that mass media is fucking up for art in society. So you should like them for that if you appreciate the arts at all.

    It's hard to understand where any band is truly coming from unless you're a musician yourself in the business or around it at least, which I take it you're not, and to be a lover of music and not a musician, one tends to criticize musicians a bit more cynically.

    Just keep listening to music man. Keep an open mind to all different kinds of music from as far back as possible to now. Maybe one day it'll help you come around to really loving animal collective. who knows?

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  36. I agree with anton in that this article was more about the terrible interpretations of what AC is in society.

    Therefore, it's not the bands fault by any means.

    I think artistic integrity is what counts most for the members of this band, though I don't know them personally, but what one can gather from interviews and such, you sort of just figure out where they are coming from.

    The cynicism is a product of the unbelievably terrible journalism for that record, but that doesn't mean one can't dance to my girls. "Danceability" is cosmic, or subjective. Definitely NOT objective. We feel the beat inside ourselves and move when the music moves us.

    I don't understand why such negativity must come from such positive energy. It's JUST MUSIC. I don't really like what Lady Gaga and Kanye West is doing to our society but I'll dance to fucking Boom Boom Pow or whatever.

    I sort of think that criticism is fading away and enthusiasts are replacing them. It's a new era of exciting people for certain types of music rather than telling other people why not to listen to certain types of music. I find it extraordinary.

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  37. Jeff:
    Your article was great, thanks! I try to listen to a lot of new music, so I often turn to blogs for inspiration - my favorite are the 'best of' lists, you know, best songs of 2009 and such, and (usually) I agree that the chosen songs are in fact awesome and well deserving of praise. However, I have encountered one problem consistantly: AC. Why 'Brother Sport' or any other AC piece of shite makes it to the #1 spot over and over (and over) again I'll never know. #75, sure! #50, okay! I wouldn't even mind low 20's seeing as these lists are completely subjective. But how they always seem to make it to the #1, 2, or 3 spot (and yes I have seen them occupy all three at once) is totally beyond me. I'm not an expert or a critic but I do listen to a lot of music and I'm pretty open to new sounds, and I just can't seem to 'get' AC like everyone else seems to no matter how hard I try. So, thanks again. Your argument was fun to read, well thought out, rational and easy to understand, which is what makes for good writing, not 'right' or 'wrong' as you obviously know (only a stupid turd will argue right or wrong, it takes an actual working brain to back up an argument rationally which is exactly what you did my friend, bravo!)
    p.s. I'm off to explore your blog, so sorry if this is redundant, but please post your own list of your favorite music, I'd love to hear what passes for genius to your ears.
    :)

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  38. I totally agree! It seems like everyone else is in love with AC but they fail to see what a fuck-up job they do of actually making music!! Their shit is just noise. Nothing more.

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  39. Sometimes it takes a few listens for me to "get" it. I'll admit, something that I might not like on the first couple of listens all the sudden clicks and it's my new favorite cd.

    I have decided today that I'm giving up on Animal Collective. I've spent half a decade giving them the benefit of the doubt and listening to their music over and over, waiting for that one time when it will click.

    I just don't get it. This shit makes me anxious. I do play music, I have recorded cds, I've even been to see AC live. I own all of their cds. I'm done. I'm throwing the shit away and wiping my hands clean.

    Good article.

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  40. that's really hilarious that sometime gave them the "benefit of the doubt" for a half-decade. woah. if you didn't like campfire songs or sung tongs, you should have chalked up your monetary losses then and cozied up with something that you actually like.

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  41. Thank you so much for this article. I was starting to think I was the only person in the world who found them to be a mediocre, experimental band with a few standout tracks.

    So many review sites so endlessly gush AC/MPP praises that I was seriously starting to doubt my sanity.

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  42. A Sphincter says what?

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  43. hilarious. Bet you spent all night thinking of that one. Which is about the same time it took AC to make that shitty album. And I think of the same organ when I think of that album. But hey, you like it, so it's gotta be good, right?

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  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  45. i enjoyed reading your thoughts on this band. i care about music too, and animal collective does seem lionized more than most bands, but i do like them. As a musician myself, I often ponder about why some things work and some things don't. I can't comment on the other bands you mention, but AC have been, since I first heard them anyway, outputting triumphant music with roots in generic african village folk (think the lion king soundtrack) and late beatles LSD mania. all this steeped in an ivy-league, rich, white aesthetic, reminiscent of late 50s, early 60s dinner party choral groups, of which the beach boys certainly were one. other bands picked up on this and ran with it.

    perhaps by meditating on why american youth would now be attracted to the perceived image of allegedly wealthy preps, psychedelic drugs, community-based music, and a triumphant soundtrack to their lives, you can begin to unravel the mystery as to why this band took off when others did not.

    it's actually all about psychology, and not just of young people. it's the psychology of escape. the internet has provided us with a community, while our actual communities crumble around us.
    an LSD experience can bring meaning to an otherwise meaningless existence. we have no money, so we idolize those that claim to. we are defeated, politically and economically, and so a sense of triumph is what we crave.

    one could say, well what about that most valuable exponent in modern music? authenticity?

    unfortunately for AC's critics, african folk music is about as authentic as you can get, and animal collective used to play that on acoustic guitars, which is generally considered the most authentic pop instrument you can play these days. so they've got a pretty solid thing going on, from a critical perspective.

    it's important to realize that greedy (with sound), genius, lucrative, lucky are good words to use when thinking about AC. they attempt to provide not something to someone but everything to everyone.

    2:33 AM

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  46. Sir, why don't you tell me some of your favorite bands/artists and I'll be happy to look them up on the internet, read some reviews, and formulate my own opinion on how much they suck. Really, just about anyone can do it with miniscule effort.
    I know, I know, copying and pasting is a useful tool, but it really doesn't come in handy if you're trying to sway people to your side.

    And who cares if Animal collective gets a little hype? I mean sure, Pitchfork or a random blogger might enjoy them just a little too much, and subsequently rant about how note-worthy and ground-breaking this band is, but the least you can do is agree to disagree. I mean, you're even admitting to liking them, multiple times, in your post. Needless to say, I'm not a fan of hypocrites.

    Look, if you're writing this to state your honest opinion, that's cool.
    If you're writing this because you hate how much press AC has gotten because they didn't really do anything, that's fine too.

    But you don't have to say the band sucks, because, well, they don't. Simple as that. They aren't looking to make sounds that are 'popular' with the general society; they're just four guys who get together, get stoned, and make honest, fun music. Some of it sucks, some of it's weird, and some is phenomenal. I guess taking chances in music is a theory that's not well-adopted in today's society.

    and to all you people who commented on how easy it would be to make this music, I doubt you've ever even mixed your own music before.

    So, Animal Collective is out there. They're making music because it's what they love to do. and if that doesn't appeal to you, well I guess that's your choice.

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  47. Also, when I said mixing their own music, I meant mixing, not just making lyrics and riffs into songs. Most of AC's records were mixed by themselves, on the label(s) Paw Tracks and Fat Cat records, except MPP which was on the Domino label.

    Hint: Domino is a major label, Paw Tracks/Fat Cat is an indie label. Correlation? ...
    Animal Collective became huge as soon as they put a record out that was mixed by a major record company? When they've already been making music for nearly 8 years? Whoa, now it's become a completely different issue.

    My point is, don't solely blame AC for this hype. As far as I can tell, they themselves didn't enjoy it very much either. In fact, rumors of the band breaking up have now been floating around. Could it be because of the unwanted over-glorification?

    Which brings us to the main point that everyone is dying to know these days: How trustworthy is the media?
    I'd say divulging your own opinion from close study of the music in all its aspects is much better than reading Pitchfork any day.

    I don't think you're someone who knows music very well at all. You must know that good music takes more than one or two listens for it to adapt to your brain. You cannot possibly hope to feel what the creator of the song was feeling when he/she wrote it after ONE listen.
    I don't call it homework...it's merely discovery for me.

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  48. No, sir... with all due respect, Animal Collective DOES suck. Simple as THAT. Your move.

    Nobody is exempt from criticism. The New York Times famously panned Sgt. Pepper when it came out. Richard Goldstein wrote that he found it too precious, and claimed that Revolver is a superior album. Nuts as he likely sounded back then, many critics nowadays make the very same assessment. He spoke out against the most important album in the history of pop music, and had a fair point. But nobody's allowed to pan Merriweather Post Pavilion in public? Seriously? I dare you to tell me MPP is above reproach, but the Beatles' catalog isn't. There are meaningful arguments to be made against MPP, and nobody's making them. I think that's a shitty state of affairs.

    You know how often I have to read someone taking an unjustified dump on some band I like? That's life. Loads of people say Animal Collective is awesome. I disagree. Don't like it? Welcome to the internet. The internet is not Animal Collective Fans' Personal Playground Sponsored By Animal Collective. It is a place where people disagree about absolutely everything. Everyone else has to deal with it, and so do you.

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  49. This guy, Jeff... he listens to passion pit. I wouldn't lend his opinion any credence. He's obviously looking for attention and he's getting it from people who were curious enough to find someone talking negatively about Animal Collective. I keep checking this blog because it's interesting to see the reactions. i'm not going to defend AC, either. Nor would I set out to cut them down. They're a few stoners who made good. Go for it. This guy though, runs a shitty blog. Maybe you should take a bong hit and relax hoss. it's not a big deal, but at least Animal Collective aren't causing a negative impact through their music like, say, Blink 182 or some super lame atrocities that have happened in pop music over the past few years. Either way, what they do is not intrinsically evil, so let them parade around NYC with fly honeys and masks and whatnot and make fun of something truly horrible. for example Ke$ha.

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  50. Well said, Anton... although I hardly think I'm looking for attention by posting a long-winded rant to my shitty blog. (No offense taken, either.)

    In fact it's the foundation of my point re: the fans. I have a shitty personal blog that I never write to and never link anywhere for any reason. I don't really pay much attention to it. I rip on bands sometimes; I extol the virtues of plenty of lousy bands at other times. There's plenty to pick apart here if one wanted to. But nobody ever has, until this post right here. Because until now I didn't dare -- dare! -- to say mean things about Animal Collective.

    Nobody has yet given me a satisfactory explanation for that. If I talk the exact same shit about literally any other band on the planet, nobody would read it and nobody would care either way. But the second I say nasty shit about Animal Collective, I get people showing up on my doorstep, out of the blue, to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about because I'm not in a band. Why is Animal Collective above reproach? Because they're Such Nice Guys or something?

    Good, bad, wrong, right, like, dislike, well-made, slapdash, overrated, not overrated... at this point I pretty much don't care. But I really need someone to explain to me why is AC so friggin important that people are gonna waste their time arguing with a nobody like me, over a year later, on a blog nobody cares about.

    Have a nice weekend everyone! See you in August, when the next person turns up to demand my musical bona fides

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  51. Ha, that's true. It's not like you're insulting Velvet Underground or something with some kind of undisputed cultural meaning. I'm thinking it's because there's so little that's attractive out there. Whether it's an illusion or not, the AC guys were doing stuff a little ahead of the rest, and were kind of underdogs, that sounded "really together" on the same wave-length, much like the way the Elephant 6 bands did it years before. They seemed to have, at the least, "something different" and it caught on, maybe partially because people could identify with it, partially because they were nice guys, but maybe mostly because no one else was doing that. You have the right to write totally unprecedented, totally unfounded slander on your page if you want. I can respect that. Animal Collective SUCKS NOW ANYWAY. They used to be the cat's meow circa "SUNG TONGS and prior".. I mean they don't really suck, relatively. I saw this one band called CAT POWER when I was in college, they SUCKED.

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  52. Haha, HEY! I love Cat Power. How dare you attack what I like. Clearly blah blah blah...insult...derogatory...something...hate...you stupid...me smart.

    Maybe people should lighten up. I mean, of course Animal Collective (NOT AC, that makes me think of Anal Cunt, another terrible band that had the AC years and years before hipsters creamed themselves to sung tsongs) SUCKS, and they are only new and unique if you haven't ever listened to any music that actually broke barriers and tried new things before, from aphex twin, to pet sounds (which I still think most of their stuff sounds like a bad noisy version of) to My Bloody Valentine...and so forth.

    But if you like it, then fine. But don't throw a temper tantrum, because you like it, it has to be good. No, it SUCKS. I love Cat Power, but if you hate her, I can absolutely understand. Though she is extremely attractive, which of course matters as much for her music as Animal Collective's being "new" matters to their music.

    If only professional musicians can make (and judge) music, what a horrible world that would be. A lot of my favorite music was made by guys sitting by themselves with an acoustic guitar. Why? Because, as Bill Hicks said, THEY PLAYED FROM THEIR FUCKING HEART! I don't give a shit how many scales, or keys or synths or whatever you used to make an album, when it sounds like what animal collective (or dirty projectors) do, it sounds as boring, over produced, and monotonous as fucking Kesha or whatever shit "artist" you want to rag on.

    So go ahead, cry, throw a fit, a little hipster temper tantrum. Just make sure not to rip your bandana, or hurt your bone thin hipster arms while flailing around, and go back to pretending somehow that the problem lies with someone else.

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  53. This was a very well crafted and soundly argued review, and it reading it made me happy.

    My first experience with this band was when someone tried to throw them on at a party where we had been listening to genuinely danceable music, and suddenly the revelry ended because a hipster tool had to show us all how "deep" his musical taste was.

    Not only is it not even vaguely danceable, it isn't even good pop music to sit down and listen to. It's wankery, much like the guitar music which is made by guitar players for other guitar plays and is so overly complicated and technical that it forgets the point of making music in the first place.

    The greatest myth of indie music is that "creativity" is all you need to make great songs. Creating good music requires discipline and self-moderation. The truly great artist knows what to leave out.

    Also, there's the issue of trying to discard the musical achievements of the past century because you feel that you are "beyond" that, something which absolutely stinks of narcissism and hubris.

    Like the reviewer said here, none of this would matter if Animal Collective were just another band with a small audience. The problem is the vicious cycle of internet circle-jerking created by tools who want to fit in by praising the same music that they think everyone else does. And these same people probably talk shit about "popular" music all the time, deriding the common man for liking things that are popular.

    We really have come full circle, and it's time for people to go back to making music that sounds good again, instead of intentionally making stuff that sounds like shit because it makes them "different" or "cool."

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  54. I agree with you entirely. I can't handle one more indie-yuppy-latte sipping-pea coat wearing asshole to tell me how great AC is. Their music is SHOCKINGLY a-melodic and uninteresting. That isn't to say that I don't enjoy acts that favor a more ambient approach to melody and musical structure. As an ethnomusicology student at UCLA, I have heard music from all around the world. It is rare to come across an act that defiles the concept of melody like AC does. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't tell me how great they are anymore. I simply can't handle it! You don't have to like something because it's cool to like. I would much rather listen to Katy Perry, who at least has a basic understanding of aesthetic, than AC who simply disregards my ears when creating.

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  55. I take offense to anyone implying that it takes a certain amount of money/studio production for a piece of music to be 'beautiful'. That is one of the most ignorant ramblings I've ever seen in the guise of a "critique". Some of the great jazz and delta blues albums were recorded for much less money, and sound as if they're drowning in a bowl of Rice Krispies. Does that make them any less beautiful? Studio shininess and gimmickery has absolutely ZERO to do with the beauty, let alone the worth, of a song. I have no beef with anything else you've said (despite being an AC fan, I'm a mild one, and don't understand all the blowjobs they've been getting either), but seriously, that's just unintelligent, and it makes you look closed-minded and a total disciple of brainless drone-fed radio-pop, the kind of person who thinks money = creativity and talent. that kind of attitude has brought us to the precipice of musical creativity in 2010, we don't need your backwards ideas furthering the loss. :(

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  56. Jeez. Nobody's talking about Robert Johnson here. We're talking about WAVVES. We're talking about hacks whose are obscuring their shitty musicianship with lo-fidelity equipment. Poverty-stricken geniuses who happened to be born a hundred years ago do not fall into that category.

    Anyway, sorry that my "backwards idea" that good studio equipment is good has offended you so.

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  57. Thank You for this Sir. Animal Collective Sucks, really, they do.

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  58. Thank you so much for this essay.

    I've been listening to MPP for over a year now and I still can't seem to like it. I do like My Girls, but the bass beat seems cheap. I could dance to it after a few beers, but still...

    Bashing aside, I've listened to all of their albums repeatedly and I only like one song, "leaf House."

    The comparison to Beach Boys is fair. MPP does sound like Pet Sounds, but less poppy, and way too much reverb and echo effects.

    Regardless. Thank you. I thought I was the only one who thought this band was over hyped.

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  59. Animal Collective is the best band to do several albums of bad, sloppy covers of every Toto song created.

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  60. You know what? I think that's giving them way too much credit. Animal Collective is a skid mark on Toto's underwear. Toto is fantastic. I know how that statement sounds, and I don't care. They wrote actual songs. They were excellent technical musicians. Toto is OK in my book, and Animal Collective is not.

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  61. You won't be able to change anyone's mind with this because you completely talk shit about every other similar artist, or artists with similar fanbases. Now I don't like animal collective either, but you provide no justification as to why Grizzly Bear sucks, yet you pass it off as fact. Stating the possibility that Joanna Newsom has never heard a symphony is outrageous, lacks any basis, and is simply just incorrect. My point is, if you are trying to convince anyone, get the facts straight. I didn't read the whole thing because it's too self-indulgent.

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  62. You won't be able to change anyone's mind with this because you completely talk shit about every other similar artist, or artists with similar fanbases. Now I don't like animal collective either, but you provide no justification as to why Grizzly Bear sucks, yet you pass it off as fact. Stating the possibility that Joanna Newsom has never heard a symphony is outrageous, lacks any basis, and is simply just incorrect. My point is, if you are trying to convince anyone, get the facts straight. I didn't read the whole thing because it's too self-indulgent.

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  63. I agree with you to an extent, but still very much like MPP and Animal Collective. But oh damn, this article was scathing, but SO DAMN entertaining! Very good read, sir, very good. I applaud you for being able to elaborate so extensively and thoroughly upon "I hate this band"... something other hipsters could learn.

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  64. After reading your article I can only sum up my response with one sentence. I hope it succeeds at properly depicting my feelings towards your article in a very immature, fan-girl-sort-of-sense. Here it is: I love you, please marry me.

    P.S. Kian, he did not accuse Joanna Newsom of never hearing a symphony, I believe he was accusing the critic. And if we're giving life advice, then maybe you should actually read the article before sharing your 'point' so blatantly.

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  65. All music is opinion. if you took all non-musical conceptions about this band, or any band and listened to what music they are making rather than the general reception of the album or what the lead singer does on saturdays, and especially how much money was put into producing the album. Then you have an opinion. Not a bad experience of smelly hipsters ruining your paradise music blogging to suit a different audience. Which is exactly how some felt about myspace from email and blogs, than Facebook, and now tumblr which has destroyed memes and any internet culture. Therefore i will never discuss MPP in any group of bloggers or the few that i know loved it at work, for i don't want there opinions to effect my perception. The album was ok, the hype, reviews, practically overall reception was trash. I would not have any opposition to this review if it was titled "merriweather post pavilion sucks" but it doesn't, you attacked the collective as a whole for all the works they have done. "accessible" or "dance like" do not apply to all of there music, in fact it probably doesn't apply to MMP either. Accessible is broad in the fact that critics used it to tell that it was "more" accessible, so no you wont have an 80 year old ex veteran listening to this, nor the 30 year old mother while she gives her child a bath. Now the romantic period of classical music might be the accessible that you are perceiving that critics were implying. The portion where you addressed "to long to get to the point" i have to disagree, as a musician i find the pop music simple and boring continually going to a chorus or climax that you are so desperate to hear. A good 10 page book wouldn't have 1 page of development, just to hit the climax at page 2, and like pop songs pages 5 7 and 9 will probably be a complete retelling of page 2 with a little added word with a little slower and more complex syntax. Songs in campfire songs, sung tongs, spirit, and here in there in other albums, usually develop and create a mood while trying things that aren't commonly done "not never done, every art especially music always borrows and elaborates" Builds in to a climax that creates a grand emotion for the ears and cools down without getting boring. Doing this they hold replay value while your regular indie band or radio band will repeat a chorus so many times by the end of the first listen you can sing or hum along to the last chorus. I don't want or think you should adapt to fit my belief opinion of the band, but if you want to put a point out there that this band sucks, you know you going to have opposition so i feel i am almost giving into the game by arguing. I see where you are coming from the reception of the album, but if you had never heard anything about this album, you may of found it at least mediocre or even if you didn't like it (which i wouldn't blame you due to the repetitive hooks and the superficial lryics) you would have no hate for it. Though i do appreciate your oxymoron of trying to be hipster enough to go against the masses to fight an already indie album, just as a frustrated teen might do when he finds justin bieber is popular while he listens to similar hip hop and rap to go and create a hate blog against beiber.

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  66. At the end of the day dude its your opinion. You own that but it doesn't make your opinion any more true than the CIA's about Kennedy.

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  67. I posted this rant in February of 2009. Two years and eight months later, people are still showing up to tell me a) how opinions work and b) that mine is wrong. No other outcome could have pleased me more. Thank you, all of you, for making this post the internet's #1 source for Animal Collective Sucks

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  68. even if Animal Collective didn't suck when you wrote this... They most likely do suck by now, or at some deciding moment in the future. Are they still relevant? Were they since 2001?

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  69. animal collective shits warm diarrhea straight into your earhole

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  70. It's now 2012 and I will still add to this blog's comment section.

    Too make a long story short, I went to art school and majored in sound design, so my fellow classmates were all audiophiles, played in bands, and you know the rest... There were a lot of guys talking about this random (to me) album from this band Animal Collective. I kept hearing about how innovative and mind bending it was that human beings could have created music such as this. It was the second coming of Christ to some people... It was more revolutionary than all the music combined in the 20th century.....

    ...and then I heard the album.

    What a disappointment. I couldn't believe the garbage I heard. I think the Phantom Menace was less disappointing. At the time, I was listening to bootleg copies of the Beach Boys 'SMiLE,' and other stuff like the Four Seasons album, 'Genuine Imitation Life Gazette, and early albums from Tangerine Dream. And to think, someone actually recommended MPP because they heard I was into psychedelic 60's music... I don't see the connection. The fact that someone would throw this piece of trash up there with ANYTHING from 1965-1970, is absolutely disgusting.

    And then it dawned on me... people who think MPP is anywhere near innovative, probably lack a knowledge of music that had come before it. I know that's a rude generalization, but it seems to be the only thing that makes sense. If you're musical knowledge only extends back to say 1995 or 2000, then maybe this IS innovative for you...

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  71. Wow Gab, it takes a lot of balls to try and outdo the comment before yours. This "butt" fellow is an exciting new voice in music criticism.

    I'll put this out there, since we're now in Year Four of MPP airplay control on KROQ here in Los Angeles... wait, what? Nobody gives half a rat shit about them anymore? People stopped climbing over each other to be First and realized it's just a record? Oh.

    If the guys/animals in the band cite 60's psych as an influence, in their heads, I would not doubt their sincerity. But anyone saying the band's output has any direct, quotable correlation to those influences has his head up his ass, noise-cancelling headphones and all. You cannot compare Brian Wilson to Bleep Bleep Bloop Bloop. I hope he installs motors in his reserved cemetery plot before he dies, cause at this rate he'll have a lot of spinning to do down there.

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  72. hahah well said man, well said. Poor Brian Wilson... not only are his brothers dead, but he now lives in what must seem like a foreign world to him... a day when you turn on the radio and it just shits all over you. I wish I could flip on a mainstream station today and still hear things like Sam Cooke or Sinatra or something.... but no... everyones bumping this horribly produced, cringe inducing, auto tuned garbage and no matter what genre it is, it's everywhere. Then we have assholes like Kanye West goin around saying, "I am the voice of a generation." No you're not dick head.

    If Animal Collective fans think that MPP ranks up there with any 1960's work, I wonder what their future albums are gonna be to them... the next 'Remain in Light' from the Talking Heads? I'm gonna go puke at the thought...

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  73. I think it's curious why AC is being so actively shilled for by these music bloggers. I wonder why this music is so special to be so heavily promoted, and by whom? Who has such clout? And who benefits? The music is certainly hypnotic, and I don't necessarily mean that in a positive way.

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  74. Obviously, you've never heard "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" by Pink Floyd....

    Oh, and Gab. I happen to be a huge fan of 60's psychedelic music. Not just the mainstream stuff, either. More underground, like early Floyd, 13th Floor Elevators, Small Faces, Red Krayola, many others.

    When I first heard Animal Collective, I didn't get them and shut them out. But over time I've been listening to many different genres and styles of music (while still avoiding the crappy pop and rap that pervades the radio). And if you do open your mind and happen to listen to as much variety as I do (including certain electronic and sample-based music), then you'll definitely see a correlation.

    I used to be a 60's music snob, but come on. Being passionate about music and currently learning guitar, I don't want to just make music that's a pale imitation of the past. Why must we relegate the legends of rock to a certain time period and declare the days of innovation are over? It's ass backwards. If I'm to judge by the music alone, then yes I would see Animal Collective on par with many 60's and 70's bands. Same with Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes.

    Also, Animal Collective fully know how to play their instruments. The 'bleep bloop bloop' was a foray into a different style of music that you don't seem to be familiar with at all. Plus, their main guitarist was on a hiatus. But they have played music completely using rock instruments before. Heck, they even had an acoustic album, Sung Tongs. Merriweather Post Pavilion is what, their 8th? And their new album Centipede Hz evolved out of them jamming as a garage band again.

    Domino Records is not a major label. It's just a larger independent label, and it already has some cred from some of the bands on its roster. Paw Tracks is Animal Collective's personal label.

    The major record industry is like a factory now. Even Paul McCartney left EMI because of restricted freedoms. EMI's not like they were when they signed a band as experimental as Pink Floyd in 1966. No major label's going to take a risk with an artistic band these days, not unless the band plays the system or something. Animal Collective are content with doing their own thing, and I don't blame them for it. But they're more in line with the hippies and psychedelic music, as opposed to the hipster movement that's been latching onto them unfortunately.

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  75. You're no different than Mr. Hans Keller in that infamous interview with Syd Barrett and Roger Waters in the 1960's. He tried to like Pink Floyd, but all he heard was noise and repetition. He was held back by a stubborn close-minded view of music, which was deeply rooted solely in classical. I love classical, but the reason I'm using this example, is because I feel that certain individuals who grew up around 60's and 70's music feel the same way about artists like Animal Collective, too. There's that correlation.

    I sense the emotion, musicianship, great lyrics and expert production in the music Animal Collective makes that is lacking in mainstream modern pop music. The stuff the radio promotes is about getting drunk and banging people, all through drenched layers of autotune and predictable G-C-D based chord structures. And very corny effects.

    Animal Collective-nope. Always something different. Like I can't say "I've heard this before" when I listen to their music. They sing about the worthlessness of finding value in material things and social statuses, and to not judge people for their taste in things. I also find the effects to be quite innovative. Not Fruity Loops fed through 5k equipment which is what Billboard pop and rap sounds like these days.

    But enough of my rant. Some people like to stay back. For the sake of progress, I like to move forward, while still enjoying the past. Time is an illusion really ... if I were to recommend you smoke some cannabis, and you were to flip out-well, I can definitely see why you hate the Collective so much. Nothing I can do for you there then! I sense you're the type of individual it's pointless to convince about anything, but at least I got some writing and argumentation practice out of this.

    Trying my best to be non-judgmental, I bid you adieu with peace and love!

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  76. Wow, I think there is something wrong with this writer's internal scale or they are just looking to bash somebody. I like all different kinds of music. From Tool to Oscar Petersen to Keb Mo to Nick Drake to Mos Def to Animal Collective. This is just pure music bashing slander. I will also agree that the (non-)reviews you have listed in your blog take their music and just shit it all out all over everybody. And IMHO I think your (non)review is shitting it out all over everybody, except your shit is some fiery volcano burrito shit.

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  77. A weary traveller, I have found this weathered relic in my sojourns across the internet, and will etch my name into it before I pass on. Know that you are not forgotten, o he-who-defecates-in-the-mouths-of-hipsters.

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  78. It seems this irate reviewer fails to acknowledge his own subjectivity in the judgement of this band. From the moment he describes his frustration a result of reading blogs, it became apparent the resulting analysis would be aggressive and irrational.

    To address a few questionable mistruths:

    "Of late, it has been impossible to read a music blog without encountering some sort of moronic embellishment of AC's place in American culture. (Actual importance: zero.)"

    How can a revered band or genre of music and its relevance in culture be unimportant? Is culture not just a reflection of the attitudes, beliefs, and tastes of the people of the time? Disregarding a facet of music because of one's personal vendetta is like ignoring a dismal war when studying history.

    At second glance, this article is too dense with bullshit to rebuke with a rigid analysis. I'll simply present to the author that he needs to realize that there's no need to resent everything with a cult following. People enjoy being passionate about things. This is not unlike your passion for attempting to thwart the musical enjoyment of others. Like AC or not, if you're going to provide a criticism of prejudiced reviews, it'd be wise to maintain an objective perspective.

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  79. Absolutely phenomenal article, bravo. We need a musical revolution in common sense. People are too concerned with fitting in and feeling like intelligent, hip snowflakes to question the status quo and declare that the emperor wears no clothes.

    I must admit I wasted hours of my life listening to AnCo's work, trying to "find" what the hype was about. Looking back on it, I clearly was doing "homework," and maybe part of me was trying to convince myself I enjoyed it so I didn't feel like I was missing something, that my taste wasn't refined enough or something. This is what the vast majority of people succumb to when they spend enough time reading reviews or music forums.

    Luckily, my determined independence won over, and I firmly declared that whatever AnCo was, it was not enjoyable music. I gave it an honest shot, and they failed to impress. This writer cuts through the BS and summarizes things perfectly. We need more of these blunt declarations, chemotherapy for the cancer which has infected the internet music community.

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  80. Were you on your periods or something? Open your mind and enjoy the creativity and the happiness that emerges from AC's work. Go listen to ''Painting with'' and your little opinion will change.

    Reading YOU was a homework, not listening to Animal Collective.

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  81. I haven't had time to read through all these comments yet, but I love that you wrote this and sincerely hope you are still writing now, continuing to bray like a stubborn donkey against all that is stupidly and undeservedly entrenched. We need more people who are willing to address emperors' nudity wherever they see it. The angry fans who feel the need to "take you on" for expressing your opinion left me helpless with laughter. I actually enjoyed the quirkiness and creativity of Sung Tongs the year it came out (though "fun" is not how I'd characterize listening to it). After working to like MPP for 7 years, I can admit that I'm laying in a supply of sleeping pills in case it happens to be playing in the old folks home when I arrive there in my dotage. Because that's probably going to happen in 50 years, right? Kudos to the commenter "Alex" who said "... no one should dance to this, ever. Except maybe Stimpy, doing some kind of joyful fart-dance, pooting out in rhythm to the fake toy horns." Thank you both. I salute you.

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