In recent years, indie music has become the voice of a broken generation. Off-kilter melodies, anecdotal lyrics, and varying amounts of distortion are the defining factors of the genre today, and a large part of that is thanks to Neutral Milk Hotel. Neutral Milk Hotel gave indie music a new voice in In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, adding a new anthemic presence to the genre.
In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is an iconic album for a reason. It has a way of sounding angry while being scared all the same, often times coming off as both. The most important aspect of the writing, however, is that it's incredibly vulnerable. From opening track 'The King Of Carrot Flowers Pt. One' you can already get that idea, as vocalist Jeff Magnum recalls his dark childhood with the anecdotal intro. Parts two and three of 'The King Of Carrot Flowers' follows, more anthemically with a folk touch to it and with a lot more distortion. The tortured nature of Magnum's lyrics really shines in 'Oh Comely,' the great melodies and the angry, pained vocals giving you all need to know to understand where Magnum's coming from.
It's not quite the idea of what Neutral Milk Hotel was doing that makes In The Aeroplane Over The Sea so special. After all, it came at the tail-end of the era of Weezer and the post-grunge movement. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea brought songwriting to a new level, transcending the personal nature of indie rock at the time. Magnum's words brought the standard higher, his lyrics in songs like 'In The Aeroplane Over The Sea' and 'Ghost' looking to the deepest corners of his soul to bring out powerful, impactful lyrics that has you thinking deeper about yourself, as well.
Neutral Milk Hotel gave indie music a new voice in In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. Perhaps the album's influence goes beyond indie music. It's not an exaggeration to say the band made it okay to be different and to express that in your words. Gone were the days where you had to have a big single and a heartthrob look. Bands set the precedent before and Neutral Milk Hotel made it real.
Favorite Tracks: Oh Comely, Two-Headed Boy
Least Favorite Track: Hollad, 1945
Rating: 81 / 100
Stream or buy In The Aeroplane Over The Sea on Apple Music: