Neutral Milk Hotel
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea


5.0
classic

Review

by Adam Thomas STAFF
August 31st, 2011 | 391 replies | 20,992 views


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: How strange it is to be anything at all...

The very first time I heard In the Aeroplane Over the Sea I thought it was utter garbage. I remember I managed to get as far as “King of Carrot Flowers Parts 2 & 3” before throwing my hands up in confusion and exclaiming, “Fuck it!” So back up on the shelf it went after only the three minutes it took before Jeff Mangum screeched “I LOVE YOU JESUS CHRIST” at the top of his lungs. A short sample size, sure, but at that time my mind had been made up. I didn't get the hype. To be honest, to hell with just the hype, I didn't get it. That would come five years later. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea soon became nothing more than a memory of a failed travel into lo-fi music, something to scoff at in the few instances it was brought up in conversation, until a midnight drive with a couple of friends when by chance “Holland, 1945” ended up blasting out my car speakers. I still can't tell if it was because I actually enjoyed the song or if it was just because of who played it, but something clicked since not only did I remember the song but the moment as well. It still took a year from that moment to fully come to appreciate In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, but soon enough I came to see it for what it really was – perfect.

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is the most human collection of songs I have ever come across. It embraces its shortcomings like no other and does it in such a characteristic fashion that all the things that first appeared as flaws; Mangum's strained and off key vocals, the fuzzy analog production, the somewhat odd fascination with the Holocaust's most famous teenage victim, and the seemingly endless well of sexual angst, all tie in to the human experience like no other. In under forty minutes Mangum masterfully cycles through love, faith, lust, anger and hate, in a way that is achingly relatable but uniquely his own. While other stylistic contemporaries like Elliott Smith and Conor Oberst were at their best when they narrated life like the poet laureates of the night before, on In the Aeroplane Over the Sea Jeff Mangum confronts his head on and trys to make something out of the madness of it all. The end result is a mess, but it is the most beautiful god damn mess I have ever heard.



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user ratings (3191)
Chart.
4.5
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
cvlts
August 31st 2011



8917 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

totally saw this coming

Digging: Pedro the Lion - It's Hard To Find A Friend

Gyromania
August 31st 2011



14647 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I love you.

G3N3R1C
August 31st 2011



1945 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

aight

Hep Kat
August 31st 2011



13999 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great now im going to have to put this on

Digging: Casanovas In Heat - Belvidere b/w Destiny St.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 31st 2011



48524 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Mangum should change his name to Magnum


Digging: More Than Life - What's Left Of Me

wabbit
August 31st 2011



6742 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

you are the best kind of human being

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
August 31st 2011



23625 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i knew this was coming

fuck yes

reading now

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

G3N3R1C
August 31st 2011



1945 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hey guys this is one of the greatest albums of all time did u kno?

ti0n
August 31st 2011



1157 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

HELL YES

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
August 31st 2011



23625 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

awesome review

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is the most human collection of songs I have ever come across. It embraces its shortcomings like no other and does it in such a characteristic fashion that all the things that first appeared as flaws


very well said. this is one of the things I love most about this album.

i too thought this was an overrated piece of shit for probably two years after hearing this (I think this story is a cliche by now but fuck it). Then a couple years ago when I was in Quito, Ecuador, alone and scared in a hostile, dangerous city, it clicked with me on such an immense level. I'd now put it somewhere in my favourite 10 or 15 albums.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2011



17114 Comments


@g3n3r1c: that's cool, but did you know beyonce had the greatest music video of all time?

Digging: Sad Lovers and Giants - Feeding the Flame

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2011



14883 Comments


GAyAF ahFOte

WeepingBanana
August 31st 2011



9893 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i'm seeing Jeff Mangum next week

gon' cream mah jeans

LegendofPittman
August 31st 2011



2928 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^ Totes jealous

ohfoxxxycole
August 31st 2011



4350 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

favorite christian rock cd

Comatorium.
August 31st 2011



4007 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Seeing Jeff on October 27th. Gonna cream on the entire venue.

PorkchopExpress
August 31st 2011



382 Comments


Every single person I've ever made listen to this album, I tell them right up front "You won't see what the big deal is with this at first, but give it time", and I don't know anyone who hasn't grown to love it.

Digging: Pure X - Angel

Drsmith4
August 31st 2011



1693 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

If only Jeff Mangum had his own Apples to Apples card...it could be combined with the Anne Frank trump to cause all sorts of shit.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
August 31st 2011



7229 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm really tempted to go to the Jeff Magnum curated ATP fest in December.


wabbit
August 31st 2011



6742 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think I'm the only person who loved this on the first listen...which is weird cause I normally take a lot longer to get albums than most people here seem to.



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