Review Summary: The sound of rain falls upon the house before finally clearing up and exposing a beautiful landscape that lets you realize the pureness of life.
Ok, so I'll start off with my ratings within the album that I'll give to support my 5 on this one:
-UNIQUE? 5 out of 5. The album was created in the tune of an out of tune piano, so it is one of a kind pretty much
-COMPLEXITY? 4.5 out of 5.
-MEMORABLE MOMENTS? 5 out of 5.
-EMOTIONS (within both me and the music)? 5 out of 5. It truly lives up to the name "Feels", right?
-ACCESSIBILITY? 2.5 out of 5. (Out of the people in my life who I've shown Feels, it is a very hit or miss deal. They either don't get it, or they absolutely love it.)
Alright, well let's start off with my recollection of the first time I heard Feels. I was digging into the Animal Collective discography and was giving everything a spin, and this album came on as I was exploring the Mississippi River years ago. "Did You See The Words?" came on, and I was already intrigued by the off-putting drum beats and whisper-y vocals, and then the breakdown of the song came in. The straight up emotions that were brought up in that breakdown let me know that I was in for one wild ride, and one of the best rides in music I've ever had.
On to actually putting my descriptions and opinions into this, song by song (Other than 'words', which I basically already summed up).
The filtered guitar enters in and builds gradually, until the booming drums come in, followed by the first verse. The verses are fairly strong, very catchy and frail, but once the chorus comes in, the frailty of the song is broken, as loud yells from Avey Tare's mouth come out and distinguish the song as a song that almost brings a few vibes of anger, or just energy. Then the song quiets down a little as the guitar plays single notes and the drums muffle their beat a little, and Avey comes in with the almost nonsensical lyrics "What's with all the changin' since the time I was aware? Its like the apple-eatin' people that were once were aren't there", and continues to ramble on in such an innocent manner, into the song somehow transitions back into the chorus for one final time.
This song seemed very murky to me at first, but once I saw the version Avey Tare performed with Kria Brekken, the song made sense to me (if you haven't seen it yet, look it up!). The song is played in a tuning that doesn't make sense, but it somehow works out. It is a stream of consciousness, talking about being with someone you love, focusing on their details, and waking up in the morning to the sun with your partner. Oh, and don't forget being "Naked in the mirror of the bathroom", which stands as the ending point of each free-flowing verse, in a very beautiful way. This song is just freedom, love, and contentment.
"The Purple Bottle"
The first true up-tempo song on the record, and boy is it a good one. It's the complex brain of Animal Collective as a whole thrown into a single love song. But not only is it a love song, it also brings up the topics of drugs, once again living together, and I still can't fathom how this song manages to work. It just shouldn't. The childlike yells of Avey Tare and Panda Bear throughout, the complex and unpredictable drums from Panda Bear, and the constant changes of melodies just melt together not even letting you realize that you just went through a trilogy of beauty and insanity. It starts off no better than it should, with the lyrics "I've got a big big big heartbeat, yeah, and I think you are the sweetest thing", transitions to "Can I tell you that you are the purple in me?" where the mood changes from the rambling love of before, to a more low-energy doubt, and then "Crush high, thought I crushed all I could, crushed all I can then I touched your hand" comes in at the end and you can hear the distress about the drug use involved along with this troublesome love he has found. Oh, what a song this is.
This is a very melodic, wavy, calming song. It starts off with a very metallic sounding guitar, then in comes the piano, followed by the vocals and other ambient noises. This appears to be a song like "Flesh Canoe", where the lyrics seem to ramble on in front of the instrumentals at hand, and I think this song is in this place in the album to calm down the mood after the wild ride that was "The Purple Bottle", with the constant repetition of lyrics like "I'll take my time". Also, the bizarre vocal droops that occur when Avey Tare sings "The beeessss" make the song like a mellowing acid trip, and thank you for that, AnCo. This song is just a good definition of the term "At peace".
A very ambient guitar comes in, followed by more whispered lyrics from Avey. It almost resembles rain falling on a rooftop as you lie in bed thinking to yourself. Then the guitar changes it's repetition, and the tapping of drums come in, and Avey's vocals rise a little. The song starts to take a more serious tone, and you start figuring out that you've entered the first verse, and you're out of the intro. Then the first chorus comes in "down to find the swimming pool", and the brilliant strength that goes into "pool" gives the song a howl, and then it goes right back to whispering vocals, but you can hear the emotions rising even more. This song may be long, but the build-up is incredible. You get so lost in the song that you don't realize that it has rose all the way from silence to a howling song filled with frailty, and it is something that I've never been able to replicate through other artists, or myself. The rain goes from pitter-pattering on the roof to a heavy rainstorm, then like any storm, it clears up and you're left with a beautiful sunshine and green grass (no pun intended).
Another song that starts off with a very metallic sounding guitar, and then builds upon itself with piano, random background percussuion, and vocals. Oh those whispering vocals never get old on this record. This song mindlessly rolls along, and feels almost like waking up. The build-ups turn into something almost theatrical, but then as soon as you're bathing in the beauty, it all falls apart and starts over again. Once again, you can make the connection to rainfall, as if the guitar is rain falling down, unpredictably picking up weight or speed, before calming down again and restarting it's cycle. This song proves to me that an album doesn't have to be full of catchy lines or sexy guitar riffs, sometimes it deserves a peacefulness that helps you open your eyes, or think. This song is just the raw feeling of a peaceful morning. Mwah.
Holy crap, this song always gets me on the album. All the build-up that occurs in the album, followed by the climax that occurs in "Purple Bottle", lead to a collection of calming, mellowed out tracks, before coming to this. "Loch Raven" is like the relapse song on the record, bringing you back to all the feelings of love and belonging that are thrown at you early in the record, but in a very drowned out way, like you thought you had moved past everything but it is all coming back to you. The looped synth that is played throughout is that of an ambient lullaby, covered in rain-like piano, repetitive drumbeats, and a combination of Avey's whispered vocals and Panda Bears lines being sung in the background (I will not give up on you, I believe he says). This song throws around the feelings of regret and nostalgia, like you're remembering the past songs on the album and questioning why you let them leave. But that's life, right? Everything has it's end, and this song makes you contemplate that entire idea. The rain has finished falling and you're left with the memories of the storm, maybe wishing you could enjoy it's excitement again.
"Turn Into Something"
And then out of the blue, the rain has brought water to new seeds, and a new energy has blossomed on the finale song of the record. The guitar enters the song and you instantly realize this song won't be like the last 4 that have come your way. Suddenly you're barraged with Panda Bear's backing vocals, drums that make you want to hop around, and Avey screeching lyrics over the top of everything, with energy that you haven't felt since "Purple Bottle". The chorus comes around with "She said Oh my sweet goodess wish you could be here every time", and you get a sense that all the issues that are brought up in the album have now been relieved. It is like having really regrettable week, before finally realizing there's nothing to be sad about so you open the door to your home, take a deep breath, and smile. Then as slowly and murky as the album started, it all fades into falsetto, mysterious guitar, and distorted voice samples. The rain is all in the past, a new flower has blossomed, and you are so relieved and at peace with yourself that you fall back into your bed, sink into the mattress, and smile your way to sleep.
In conclusion, this album can take you on a journey through implied metaphors, ones that you make on your own, and the whole spectrum of emotions. I find it crazy that music can be this way, but it is albums like these that make me want to live and find contentment in the things around me. Thank you, Animal Collective, for a masterpiece I'll never forget.