Does Neutral Milk Hotel Suck? A Debate Involving the Merits of "Elephant 6" as a Safe Word
Jaime: We should really touch on the collective. The fact that a bunch of high school friends from Louisiana went on to form/shepherded so many well received bands is pretty amazing. But, let's get down to brass tacks, Of Montreal's Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies: A Variety of Whimsical Verse is 10000 times better than Aeroplane and therefore is the best thing from Elephant 6.
Gavin: I am of the opinion that, in ten years, when people consider that album a mainstream classic, you'll be arguing against that too. Also, you smell bad.
Jaime: If any Of Montreal album becomes a mainstream loved classic it'll be Hissing Fauna. I'll be honest, it's mainly the cult of Mangum that bothers me. The mass freakouts that happen whenever he decides to come down from Mount Olympus and play for us common folks grates on me. I'm tired of hearing pretentious assholes talk about how amazing he is.
Gavin: He just went a little mental, that's all. He's getting over it now. Surely it's more a leaving the cave situation that a mountain one? And people are bound to be excited by the first tour in 15 years of a classic songwriter.
Jaime: I wouldn't call him a classic songwriter. I think that title needs to be saved for people who deserve it, like Prince or Bernie Taupin.
Gavin: Maybe it's more a comment on the "quality" of lo-fi indie albums that have come since.
Jaime: I feel we should call it "folk-fi".
Gavin: Is this just you being upset about someone choosing to play the saw?
Jaime: Not at all. If anything it's me being upset at all the bands who have come along singing nonsense in the name of NMH.
Gavin: It's the kind of album that makes you want to pick up a guitar and go for it, though. It's just then, if you have any self-awareness, you realize you're not actually anywhere near as good.
Jaime: It's also the kind of album that makes you want to drink red wine and have very bland sex with a girl that's majoring in library science.
Gavin: You would totally do that. You'd let her sort out your Dewey Decimal system. And you could use this classic 1998 album as the soundtrack to your vanilla intercourse.
Jaime: If this makes it to print, I want all the library science majors out there to holler at me.
Gavin: They don't holler, they're in a library.
Jaime: Then they can quietly whisper at me.
Gavin: I think, in conclusion, you don't understand why a relatively bland record from the 1990s is now some sort of high watermark for the music of that period. And I can see that. I just feel it has some innate quality, I'm not sure whether it's the songwriting, the singing, or the arrangements, or perhaps all three, that grab me every time. I had "Aeroplane Over The Sea" played as I walked back up the aisle after my wedding. I'm pretty much sold on the whole Mangum thing. I would also like to go on record as saying I liked them before it was cool. adjusts glasses. I'm not sure it deserves all its cult success and adoration, but I would definitely hail it as a great album. And one that hangs together as an album, not as just a bunch of disparate songs.
Jaime: I think I'm just still upset that it took the Pazz & Jop award away from In/Casino/Out.
Gavin: It beat In/Casino/Out?! Alright, I'm with you there.
Jaime: I think we end it with that.
Gavin: Thanks for listening, if you have to sue anyone, sue Jaime. He is less likely to get deported.