Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Whimsical Wednesday

It's been a long time since we've done a Whimsical Wednesday. I've been too inspired to talk about the upcoming football season, which inches closer and closer, sometimes agonizing slowly. We're just over 6 weeks away now, and it'll be a long wait still.

Anyway, one of my favorite bands is a band called "eels". Not "Eels" or "The Eels". Just "eels". It's really a one-person band, where Mark Oliver Everett writes everything, plays many of the instruments himself, and hires musicians to play the rest. It's really a solo project masquerading as a band.

Their biggest crossover hit was a song called "Novocaine for the Soul" back in 1996. He's still making music today. The first album I owned by them was 2000's "Daisies of the Galaxy" with the minor cross-over hit "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues", which appeared on numerous movie soundtracks including "Road Trip". Here's its video, with appearances from the cast of Road Trip:

I went on to buy all their other albums. He is maybe the most talented pop musician of his generation. His music is beautiful, and his lyrics often dark but without angst. He also has a wonderful and dark sense of humor that comes out in the oddest places. You hear it a lot in his definitive album "Electro-shock Blues", which was written after a period of time when Everett lost his mother to cancer and his sister to suicide. It's a very emotional album, but at the same time it's a very adult album of grief and healing, not a juvenile album of angst and self-pity. It's the album where he really found his voice, and each subsequent album has explored a lot of dark territory as well.

It's a common refrain with me that I often have no idea why mainstream success eludes really talented musicians who have a true artistic vision while really bad music becomes really popular. Everett is a guy who really deserves a wider audience. He probably doesn't want legions of screaming fans, but I think a little more mainstream success has been earned.

Here's a video to his song "I Need Some Sleep." It's an unofficial video put together by a fan, but it's very effective. It's beautiful and somber, and perfectly illustrative of what the eels have done for years.

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