Neutral Milk Hotel: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Thanks to a friend of mine for telling me why this album meant so much to her…
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was the second studio album from Neutral Milk Hotel.; proceeded by a handful of demos and the EP “Everything Is”.
Merge had only suspected they would sell 5,500 CDs and 1,600 Vinyl copies of this album which became a critically acclaimed, and wildly outselling any predictions. Given a snapshot of time, this record has mediocre commercial performance. The album could have been written 50 years ago or today. Its timelessness has attributed to its success.
The album starts with the song “The King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. One” This song is unbelievable icebreaker. It starts with a strumming acoustic guitar and a voice. Slowly adding instruments and texture, each verse is timid and fearless in the same breath.
Pt 1 leads into, “The King of Carrot Flowers, Pts. Two & Three.. You walk into this track feeling eerily absolved. It feels like a victory, for what, I do not know. About half way in, they have a confetti parade. From a rooftop, these proclamations are made. “I will float until I learn how to swim”, “I will spit until I learn how to speak”, and “ I will shout until they know what I mean”. This song celebrates our imperfections, or at least tries to convince us to celebrate them, maybe.
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea begins sweetly with that strummy guitar and vocals that befriended us in King of Carrot Flowers, Pt1. Then in comes the saw playing its siren song. I’m going to shut the fu up now and listen to that saw.
Dance Break! The fool
“Holland, 1945” was the only single off this album. I’m not sure if I can say more than this song is a fuzzy, boomboastic elegy.
Here is a video of Steven Colbert signing off with “Holland, 145”
This album is so related to so many people because it oscillates between feeling and time so seamlessly. It is here and there and now and then on one plane, an aeroplane over the sea..
Neutral Milk Hotel would go on to release one more EP before going on an indefinite hiatus. They returned to performing live intermittently between 2010 and 2014. Their last tour was spring/summer 2015. They have yet to record new albums since returning from hiatus.