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Old 10-13-2008, 12:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea


10/10


In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is a terrifying, exhilarating and profound montage, transporting us through various scenes of a tortured childhood using nostalgia, memory and dreams. That is the overarching theme that ties this album together, the loss of innocence through external forces. The title is apt, because this album definitely flies, though itís deceptive as well, we are not some bird flying above these scenes, we are thrust into the reality of them, with lyrics in the first and second person.

The King Of Carrot Flowers, Pt 1 begins the album in a nostalgic haze. This is the reality of a situation seen through an adolescentís eyes, his parents constantly fight and so he escapes to girls and experiments with them. Wild carrot flower seeds are used as contraceptives, and whoever this boy is, he is the king of them. His mother has a drinking problem and his father is suicidal. This boy is left to look after himself. That must be a tough way to grow up. The King Of Carrot Flowers Pts. 2 And 3 keeps the same character as before and we see more of his life. Religion helps him cope. Notice as the horns play, they take us deeper and deeper into the mania and chaotic nature of this childís life. You know how I said this album is like a montage? Well, the horns (which are beautiful by the way) are like the soundtrack of the montage we are watching. I may be wrong, because a soundtrack within a soundtrack is sort of a complex idea.

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, we go to the next scene. I have a feeling, that if there is a ďmain characterĒ in this album, that he is mentally unstable. At first glance these lyrics seem to be about him and one of his girlfriends, bound together in the throes of teenage love. I have a gut feeling that it isnít about that. I have a feeling that there is no girlfriend. I have a feeling that in the first two songs, the girlfriend he was talking about is a figure from history this character has become obsessed with, because he sees himself in her, and that they obviously were meant to be. This figure is already dead. She was another tortured child, in fact, she is probably the most famous tortured child in history. He speaks of meeting her in heaven.

Two Headed Boy is very revealing about the mind of the main character. I believe he is schizophrenic, with multiple personalities. The line about taking off all his clothes and spines, well, it makes me think of the spine of a book. At this point, he has become obsessed with this girl. This girl has written a diary. I really canít hammer out a concrete meaning of this song. I believe it is a sort of soup, mixed with the nonsensical and often surreal images of dreams, coinciding with his obsession with the one person in his life he has a connection to.

The Fool is a beautifully sad and dark instrumental piece. The horns on this album are absolutely fantastic. They provide a tone of dark whimsy, like a turn of the century circus gone terribly wrong, floating through a landscape that looks like the nightmares of Dali.

If you havenít already guessed, the girl is Anne Frank. She is the connection between everything on this album. The song Holland, 1945 is the most obvious reference to Anne on the album.

Quote:
But now we must pick up every piece
Of the life we used to love
Just to keep ourselves
At least enough to carry on
In my eyes this is a reference to the loss of innocence. Transitioning into adulthood means leaving behind pieces of yourself, abandoning things you held dear. Communist Daughter is a mind boggling song. In terms of the overall story, it has no place, it is its own subplot within the story. Maybe the daughter is the main characterís mother. This song is definitely about a girl being worn and abused, and so is the song after it, Oh Comely. I think it is a combination of verses about the main characterís mother and the main character. It may be scenes from real life events all mashed together in a dream of the main character. Notice this line, it is about Anne Frank:
Quote:
I know they buried her body with others
Her sister and mother and 500 families
And will she remember me 50 years later?
I wished I could save her in some sort of time machine
The next song, Ghost is also about Anne Frank. It talks about her being born in 1929, Anne was born in 1929. This album has a theme of reincarnation underlying within it, Anne Frank keeps getting reincarnated as these different people, the Spanish boy who played piano in the earlier song Holland, 1945, perhaps she is also the Communist Daughter and perhaps she is also the girl from New York City. The next song, Untitled is a beautiful instrumental. And the last song, Two-Headed Boy, Pt 2 caps the album. The family in the song is the Frank family. Jeff Mangum, the mind behind this album, has stated in interviews that the album is about Anne Frank.

Maybe Anne Frank is a symbol. The main character feels he is just one in a long line of suffering, tortured children, tortured not by nature or machinery, but by man, just another face in a crowd of tortured souls. A sea, even.

Quote:
I don't believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone are guilty of the war. Oh, no, the little man is just as keen, otherwise the people of the world would have risen in revolt long ago! There is an urge and rage in people to destroy, to kill, to murder, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated and grown, will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again.
--- Anne Frank
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Old 10-13-2008, 12:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Glad you liked it, it's definitely one of my favorite albums. Excellent review by the way.
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I second that. I lent my copy to a friend a year ago and haven't gotten it back.
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Old 10-13-2008, 05:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Great review, but i never got the fuss.
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I swallowed a little bit of sick. Not because of the review (well written), just the choice.

I think a lot of us have had our quota of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToeAndno View Post
I swallowed a little bit of sick. Not because of the review (well written), just the choice.

I think a lot of us have had our quota of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.
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Old 10-13-2008, 11:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I actually don't have it. I should get around to listening to it I suppose...
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It's a very good album... and I definitely see what the fuss is about, though I wouldn't say it's perfect.
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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today is the first time i've ever listened to this album, and i like it.
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think it's a wonderful album. Should it be talked about as much as it does? I don't know.
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