Review Summary: A swaying proposition that art can replace a human being; that art can act as the purpose, meaning, and heart of one's life.
Dear Person Pitch
I'm not sure how to approach you, because I just can't talk about you without ***ing breaking down. You're so dear to me. You're a human being to me. You're one of the only human beings in the world that matter to me.
I have my personal life problems at home and whatnot. Soon I'll have to suck it up and face the fact that I, like Bradford Cox, will probably be alone forever, because I'm a homosexual, yet cold and snobby and far from sociable. I can't bring myself to indulge in self-harm anymore after my cousin found out and freaked out. She doesn't "get" why people would do such awful things. But God, how she reprimanded me over it! See, people love me, and I dearly respect this, but I somehow lack the capability of loving them back. Perhaps I have never had anyone to really relate to; perhaps it may be that my conventional, extroverted family would never accept my daring open-mindedness, my stoic fear of showing emotion, and my coldly aloof personality.
So now when I'm depressed, I go on walks. I walk as if I'm running away from home, to no destination. I dare to do this in the dead of night. One night my sister's boyfriend dares to tell me I've "lost contact with reality" because I have no friends anymore and have basically sold my soul to the abstract concept of art; all I do is listen to music, watch art films and struggle with writer's block while trying to write a super avant-garde novel. So plagued with existential crises I walk. I have a key to enter my apartment but not my apartment building, so when I return home I must wait for one to open the apartment building with his own key. I must look like a real lunatic having sat down here on the floor for hours in the foul darkness of post-midnight. And I'm listening to music. And I have a wide smile on my face. And I am calm and feel more uplifted than I could ever feel in my lifetime.
A block or two well away from home, I press play. The reverbant handclaps that start off "Comfy in Nautica" live lumpy in my throat and wring me into a humble state of trembling and weeping. Why was I ever depressed? Beauty and selflessness exist in life. They have been observed by a human being who probably knows of these things. That man--Noah Lennox--documents precisely the beauty and selflessness he knows into a humble yet magical composition.
Yes, here is my inspiration. Here is an album crafted with vibrant conviction and ethereal swoon, yet with enough modesty and simplicity to avoid coming across as pretentious. Despite being breathtakingly lush in soundscapes and ideas, it manages to express a world so lonely and personal. It does not sound like the work of more than one person. It feels so personal to the listener. I can hardly breathe under my joyous gasps for air.
puts the medium of music and the album format into its overflowingly full potential. It's not just a pop album; it's not just an exercise of creativity; it's a microcosm condensing the things in life worth keeping. It's filled flawlessly to the brim with meaning and compassion. It's the panacea for suicidal thoughts and existential crises. It's greater than life because it's not real; it's surreal, and to striking results. It needs no hallucinogenic companion because it acts as its own hallucinogen. It's a testament to beauty and life and everything positive that LSD can make you think about.
There's no way I ought to babble on without mentioning "Bro's". Sometimes even the greatest albums human history has to offer have highlights ("A Day in the Life", anyone? "God Only Knows"?) that stand above the others. "Bro's" is a pop expedition that manages to capture the listener's attention and emotional connection for a whopping 12 minutes. Like all great art, it evolves. Its lyrics are sparse in imagery yet genius, soulful to the core: "I mean no offense to you but grow up / Can't you just grow up?" eventually shifts into "I do love you / And I want to hold on to you for always".
is characterized by its extensive sampling. A great number of the sounds and melodies presented have indeed been stolen, such as the hypnotic female vocal loop in "I'm Not". But these samples are only harmless snippets, and together they create an even greater relic.
This album has perhaps more sonic layers than any other album I've heard. It quite honestly took me a couple listens to digest its layers enough to hand it a perfect rating. The samples loop mesmerically, creating rhythm and often polyrhythm. The transition between "Good Girl" and "Carrots", preserved in one track so as to balance with the other 12-minute epic, consists of rhythms playing in different BPM, so the result is dreamily discordant. The sample or field recording looping in "Take Pills" guides the track like footsteps as Panda Bear sings optimistic poetry. And then layers of other noises appear: white noise and dust, actions being performed at different speeds, gentle handclaps, oceanic gusts of water. Details like these combine to create a drug-free experience immersive and psychedelic in the best possible way. "Search for Delicious" is an even better example of this environmental placement of sonic layers; it is more an ambient soundscape track than sunshine pop.
The album is at its poppiest and most humble (note the flawless symmetry of the album) in the first and last tracks. Brian Wilson shall inevitably be namedropped, for voices as emotionally warm as these don't come around often. "Comfy in Nautica" and "Ponytail" provide soothing examples of Person Pitch
's human wonder in the most accessible manner. They serve as the best way to dive into the album's psychedelia and to subsequently leave it. I mean to say these two tracks showcase the most emotionally affecting component of Person Pitch
--Panda Bear's achingly heartrending sunshine pop--most blatantly, but this component sustains the music like a thread in every minute.
This album, as perfect as it sounds to me, unfortunately may not resonate with everyone. But if you are the type that knows what an intuitive connection with humanity and nature feels like (or can easily imagine it), and that enjoys the hypnotic lull of minimalist beats that can float for minutes at a time with little variation, you will not hear flaws.
On a site called Best Ever Albums, I of course placed Person Pitch
above Merriweather Post Pavilion
in my personal Favorite Albums chart. A user commented, "great chart. pity you have person pitch above merriweather post though"
Really now? Prefer which you will, but I refuse to see how Merriweather
has anything on this. Merriweather
sticks to making spiritually enlightening pop tunes drenched in a trademark aquatic atmosphere. Person Pitch
does this, but while expressing a vast ecosystem of other ideas along the way. Each track sounds different; each track explores a different musical style or genre. "Take Pills" soothes with the Gregorian-like chants Young Prayer
succeeded so tenderly at delivering. The tribal "Good Girl" bursts with dance, calypso, and electronica. "Search for Delicious" wades in clouds of ambient drone. Looping samples permeate the backgrounds of "Take Pills" and ""Bro's", and jump into the foreground on "Comfy in Nautica" and "I'm Not".
And now that we've heard Down There
, it's becoming clear that Panda Bear is not only one talented ingredient in the collective, but may be the
crucial element into what makes the collective's music transcend to such incandescent heights. See, Person Pitch
and Merriweather Post Pavilion
stand above their oeuvre as remarkable works of psychedelic pop that submerge us into an atmosphere gorgeously thick in sounds, an atmosphere that abstractly creates elements of an environment to escape into. Their other albums sure were successful experiments in sonic texture as well as brilliant works of pop, but not quite as sublime or immersive. In terms of the spiritual aspect of acid, Panda Bear has got
it; his melodies soar in a way that makes you fall in love the world and everyone in it, which is something I hesitate to say about everything pre-Person Pitch
. Avey Tare adds the element of quirkiness to the collective with everything he does: the electronics and vocal nuances he churns out in Terrestrial Tones, with Kria Brekkan, or by himself, succeed at being intrinsically weird, adding that element of weirdness and quirkiness that fascinates us on Animal Collective albums. But on Down There
, he chose to swamp his pop under dollops of reverb and aquatic effects. Why, now, would he do this? And why does "Lucky 1" sound uncannily exactly like Panda Bear's signature style, only with Avey vocals and Merriweather
bloops? Is it too prejudiced of me to accuse Avey of running out of ideas and merely following Panda's footsteps? After all, it was Panda Bear who first introduced the heavy reverb sound into the collective with his album Person Pitch
; their very next LP and EP both expanded upon that sound because Panda Bear had contributed it so.
But let's face it: these ridiculous accusations are most of all being enhanced by what I extract from my personal experiences with Person Pitch
. I extract that Person Pitch
is a work which stands above all other Animal Collective work, and above even the most soulful music being put to work today. It's monumentally experimental, it's blissfully otherworldly, it's virtuously down-to-earth. It marks a giant leap forward in the band's history. It's an overwhelmingly selfless gift to those who take the time to befriend it. It infuses listeners with what may be the very pulsating, echoing sounds of neurotransmitters and hormones . . . and morals
. Dear readers, do you believe someone who hasn't the slightest clue how to love human beings, instead finding meaning in life by escaping into fictitious works of art, can be considered a moral person? Because I don't care. Person Pitch
, you are my heart, soul, reason for being, and utmost companion in life. Will you marry me?