RED Hearts: Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion

RED Hearts are guests posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today. RED Hearts will be posting every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday through February. Today's RED Hearts post is from Alison Smith, 18, of Brooklyn, NY, who writes about her love for Animal Collective’s new album, Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino Records):

It may be hard to believe that 2009's best album has arrived when it's only January. But it has.

Well, maybe that's an overstatement. If it is though, at least I’m not the only one making it. Pitchfork gave Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion a 9.6--the highest rating they've given in five years.

Oh god, I feel as though I could write a 20-page essay on this album, the band’s ninth. This one finds them as a three-piece (including band members Avey Tare, Geologist, and Panda Bear), continuing to make ambient music that stretches the boundaries of conventional sound. They use thick electronic beats and original samples of sounds like splashing water for a strong-yet-tender series of 11 songs. Although Animal Collective is as experimental as ever, Merriweather Post Pavilion shows their progression toward accessibility for previous non-fans. Here, they draw upon more common song structures and melodies than the seemingly random chaos of their earlier creations.

Lyrically, the album reveals a very romantic and mature side of the band, like in the first single and one of my favorite songs, “My Girls,” where Panda sings of only wanting to protect and provide for his wife and daughter; and in "Bluish" where Avey croons (well, coming from a guy who has spent a good deal of his musical career screeching, "croons" might be a stretch) about being driven "so crazy"--in a good way--by the beautiful little things he sees in his spouse.

The fact that Merriweather Post Pavilion right away found a place in iTunes’ top 10 albums shows that Animal Collective may not be the weird kids in the room anymore. I’m all for them being widely accepted as the innovators they truly are. Catch them when they tour this spring. Their flashing lights, palpable bass, and spastic wailing are absolutely not to be missed.

Find Animal Collective on MySpace, and watch the video for "My Girls" below:

Red hearts logo RED Hearts guest poster Alison Smith is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which was recently published in paperback.

Photo: Takahiro Imamura