A year ago, just about to the day, we got our super secret copies of Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. It was difficult to listen to that album knowing the rest of the world was not listening along. How could we not share with everyone the insane joy of “My Girls?” It was like getting a vaccine against bummers and not being able to inoculate anyone else, so you just drink the syrup yourself. And it’s amazing to feel amazing, but you look around and know that everyone could be feeling equally fiery, instead they’re wading through winter, waiting for the sunshine, which you have hidden in your pocket. This was a heavy burden (okay, not that heavy). But we like to share! So when they played their release show in Manhattan on January 20th we hauled up to the balcony of the Hammerstein Ballroom and watched everyone sing along to an album they’d downloaded a vinyl rip of and punch beach balls out of sheer ecstasy. There was a guy who made his way to the side of the balcony, not a particularly good sight line, just so he could dance freely. This was not a dance freely looking kind of guy. He looked like he was dressing Michael Douglas in Wonderboys for Halloween. Not a dude whose definition of fun includes keeping your arms twirling and singing along in falsetto to tracks about adobe slabs and opening up your throat. But that was the point—this was music for everyone. Even Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa talked about his love of Animal Collective.
With this ubiquitously beloved of an album, we knew we had to go to the mattresses for our last issue of the year. So we asked Animal Collective to join with us in guest editing issue 65 of The FADER, giving them complete control of almost all of what you’ll see in the issue. They selected back cover star, the wily genius Zomby, and gave us a list of a crew of their friends and favorites, from Pantha Du Prince to Brendan Fowler. We got a crew of their most respected artists to contribute, too, which you can see even on the cover of the magazine with Bjorn Copeland’s gooey collage. They did some work themselves, too, Avey Tare contributing an original photo, Panda Bear interviewing Eric Copeland of Black Dice and Geologist somehow interviewing the entire cast of MTV’s The State. And don’t get us wrong, we talked to the group, too. Well, actually comedian Aziz Ansari did that for us. The entire issue is a circus ride of colorful pleasures straight from the brains of the makers of one of our most listened to albums of 2009. After sharing our magazine with Animal Collective, we’re proud to finally share it with you.