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I was browsing allmusic for bios and reviews and such. I looked at the overview of the Eels’ discography and noticed that, despite being 15 years in the past and despite all the other glowing, highly rated albums that have followed it, Beautiful Freak is still AMG’s choice from E’s ouevre.

Some might say it’s great, that Beautiful Freak is wonderful and the best the Eels have to offer. Well, alright. Maybe. But to me it just says that a) in the critical mass conscious E’s still working in that grumpy post-grunge shadow and b) this accounts for how few dearly earned accolades E’s been racking up. People still think that the ’96 Eels are the 2011 Eels.


So my South African friends and I stumble back home at 3am in Andong, “cultural center of Korea,” and one of them turns on the television just to see if anything good is on. (Hint: there never is here.)

I wasn’t drunk, but I thought I was either inebriated or hallucinating when from out of nowhere I heard an Eels song. On Korean TV! At 3am!

Someone on the TV show — a news program, I think — seemed to be interviewing Korean high school boys about something. They were all pimply faced and in school uniforms. And the whole time I just heard “Let’s Ruin Julie’s Birthday.” What the heck!

Unfortunately, my SA friends seemed thoroughly non-plussed that a) my favorite band are the Eels and b) one of the band’s obscure songs was on Korean TV at 3am. So we turned the TV off and went to sleep. Hrm.

This blog will be on indefinite hiatus from now on. I need to find something more rewarding. Read the rest of this entry »

I Googled “Bon Iver” because I just don’t know what the heck that is (boring, apparently) and found the little audio samples at the top of the Google search. *Yawn*

Anyway, I did the same with “the Eels” to see which songs would appear. It was “Novocaine for the Soul,” “My Beloved Monster,” “Saturday Morning” and “Fresh Feeling.” Very nice songs. I listened to each little sample, and I thought to myself “What’s not to like?”

Okay, okay. E doesn’t contribute anything to commercials. So I take that back. BUT if the Eels have a spiritual connection to any commercial product it is–ironically, for a band that likes birds–Friskies. Read the rest of this entry »

“Useless Trinkets” reminds me of how silly it is to dwell on material things, because in the end you’ll end up a lifeless material thing too, and then what does it matter? Read the rest of this entry »

This is one of the rare times when E steps outside of his “persona” and writes about someone else’s life experiences. The tale goes that an engineer told a story about how his dad used to encourage him to pick fights with other kids at the bus stop. Given that we don’t know when this song was written, it would be both difficult (and probably intrusive) to speculate about the identity of the engineer. But it might be Koool G Murder. Read the rest of this entry »


“Why is true love hard to find, why does true love hide?” sweetly and naively asks E in Hombre Lobo‘s “Beginner’s Luck.”

Well, it can be hard to find, sure, but it doesn’t hide. True love is blind, right? So maybe love is seeking you out all along, but, being blind, it doesn’t follow a straight line. I guess that’s why you hold hands when it appears; so it doesn’t get lost again.

At any rate, the bells chiming on “Beginner’s Luck” always make me smile. And it’s great that in the song, no one’s promising every problem will be solved and it’s smooth sailing from now on, but he’s very definitely pledging lifelong friendship and unalloyed love. That’s quite a bargain!

Something in the phrasing tidily skirts any hint of pessimism. I get the feeling this guy will still have a crush on his wife when they’re old and grey. And there’s your true love, Mr. E.

I talk to animals all of the time. I stopped at a pet store just the other day and went around talking to all the cats and mice and finches and such. It occurred to me how much I imprint personalities on the stray cats in my back alley, &c. And then I listened to “Little Bird” soon after.

When reviewers mentioned “Little Bird” in their reviews of End Times, they often said E sounded like some lame loser who talked to birds because he didn’t have any real friends. Well, that’s just a stupid thing to say. Anyone who makes a point of taking care of little animals–myself and E included–can attest to how restorative and pleasant a little chit-chat with birds or kittens or chipmunks can be. And that’s why “Little Bird” is such a wonderful song.

I woke up early this morning, around 4:15, and discovered that we had run out of heating oil. The temperature inside had dropped from 68F to 61. Right now it’s 45F. I’m waiting delivery of more oil, but in the meantime it’s in the low 20s outside, with fresh snow everywhere.

Somewhere between here and there, someone hundreds of miles away may or may not be dying. And not to put too fine a point on things, but all I could think of was listening to “Dead of Winter.” Really, could there be anything more apt at the moment?

That is why I like the Eels.

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