Eels
Electro-Shock Blues


5.0
classic

Review

by robin EMERITUS
August 30th, 2010 | 50 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist


Electro-Shock Blues isn’t just a reaction. It’s a hundred shades of one reaction; a funky, playful album of horrible mirth at times, a completely hopeless document at others, an open stream of all the emotion one could have in the face of being left on your own. And finally, it’s life-affirming, an E beating up through the rubble of his life as if he’s learning some lesson and subtracting the bitter from the bittersweet. Because surely that’s why Electro Shock-Blues ends on the up. “P.S. You Rock My World” is the aftermath before itself, E’s words so bluntly honest: “I was thinking about how everyone was dying / and maybe it’s time to live.”

Sometimes I wonder that about E. His descriptors do him horrible service, painting him black and white in his never-ending sadness, as if every song is an “Electro-Shock Blues.” He’s more complex than that- hell, in the last number on Electro-Shock Blues his epiphany comes at a funeral service. At first I thought this was all a devastating black comedy, but now I realise it’s deeper than some ironic Indie pop record: it’s E’s honest smack of tough love, and he is his own recipient. On “Last Stop: This Town” he places himself in position with no compromise whatsoever, both with lament and celebration- “You’re dead / but the world keeps living.”

This song (and the album it belongs to, don’t forget) has soul. E pumps his fists, fires up his guitar riffs and screams his yeah yeahs, and, quite simply, lays it down like it is. What makes Electro-Shock Blues so honest it can be called a document, an accidental journal left around for curious eyes? Surely it is that E never flinches. He writes his tragedy from both sides and doesn’t shy away from measuring every millimetre of his mind; the lows and the highs come together, as the insanity comes with the joy on “My Descent Into Madness,” a pop highlight on the album that depicts E’s late sister and the reasons to root for her- “Come meet me at 8 o’clock tonight and you will see how I am not the crazy one.”

Electro-Shock Blues is held together like no other fragile thing is, its acoustic mopes, layered dance offs and electric rockers all landing on the same plane. Most would call this structure, and sure, this album has the beginning and end and the moments in-between, but ultimately the truth is what keeps E’s songs clutching to one another. Each one, to put it simply, is a reaction. A reaction to two deaths, to being the last remaining Everett and to wondering where the hell one goes from such a dark place. And every reaction leaves us humbled, but no perhaps more than the heart-stopping strings of “Dead of Winter”- “I will not fade into the night.”



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user ratings (211)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Ryan Fitz (5)
Art doesn’t get much more meaningful than this....

Cubert99 (4.5)
E proves that through tragedy we can create something indispensable...

Clumpy (4.5)
Maybe it's time to live....

The Katz brothers (3.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
robin
Emeritus
August 30th 2010


4249 Comments


last 5, i swear

vanderb0b
August 30th 2010


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Excellent review. Despite being a huge Eels fan, I never was able to fully get into this. I'll try again tonight.

gaslightanthem
August 30th 2010


5209 Comments


i don't have quite the same love for E as you robin but still good band, good review

robin
Emeritus
August 30th 2010


4249 Comments


sonic i love you-th

gaslightanthem
August 30th 2010


5209 Comments


i wish sonic youth was the only band ever

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2010


15052 Comments


Robin "Fake Five" Smith


jk love u

shindip
August 30th 2010


3536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review. definitely one of the best eels albums

NeutralThunder12
August 30th 2010


8742 Comments


wow, fantastic review Robin, never heard these guys

Yotimi
August 30th 2010


6523 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^U never heard Novacaine for the Soul?

SeaAnemone
August 30th 2010


20559 Comments


I knew there was some reason I loved you Mr. Smith... and this is definitely it ; )

Digging: Dirty Beaches - Stateless

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2010


10499 Comments


smith slassics

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2010


15052 Comments


klap when u gonna do u forgot it in people




klap
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2010


10499 Comments


after i do source tags and codes so don't hold your breath

Athom
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2010


17222 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

my dad gave this to me when this first came out. it was too depressing for him. rules so hard

gaslightanthem
August 31st 2010


5209 Comments


i don't find this depressing what's wrong with me

Gyromania
August 31st 2010


15941 Comments


idk man, maybe you're broked?

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

robin
Emeritus
August 31st 2010


4249 Comments


=(

gaslightanthem
August 31st 2010


5209 Comments


it doesn't stir any emotion in me at all maybe that is why i dont love eels the way a lot of you guys do D :

Mordecai.
August 31st 2010


8279 Comments


hi gaslightanthem

gaslightanthem
August 31st 2010


5209 Comments


sup



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