A Beginner’s Guide to Animal Collective

February 20, 2009

We're not sure whether to be impressed or perplexed by erstwhile NBA pro basketball "star" Paul Shirley's ESPN music column, but his personal encounters with Animal Collective's new album Merriweather Post Pavillion have been quite entertaining. Some of our favorite excerpts during his seven listens to the album:

The first song sounded awful -- hence the "Woof" comment. The third song sounded like it was being performed by a squadron of eunuchs banging on cymbals[...]

Seven listens isn't enough to fully comprehend an album, especially one as far-out as MPP. But I'm afraid if I listen anymore, I'll start to hate Animal Collective only because there is a limit to how many times I can hear a record in a few days.

MPP is a fun album, but the songs are too long. Generally, they are fairly simple tunes that borrow from 1950s- and '60s-era sensibilities, done with a psychedelic, we-might-be-taking-LSD-while-we-do-this style. Because the songs are so simple, it would be nice if they were shorter.

Of course, knowing just how complex Animal Collective can be, we took it upon ourselves to break down each of their 9 albums and 82 songs into 4 distinct categories. Above is our coded typographical guide (which ran in Issue 59) to every recorded Animal Collective song ever. We hope this comes in handy when Paul Shirley eventually matures musically, overcomes his "experimental" and "long song" fears, and buys the entire AC catalogue. Check the very simple key after the jump (or even better, download Issue 59). (via Prefix)

ALBUMS (in chronological order):

1. Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished

2. Danse Manatee

3. Hollinndagain

4. Campfire Songs

5. Here Comes the Indian

6. Sung Tongs

7. Feels

8. Strawberry Jam

9. Merriweather Post Pavilion

TERRAIN (color):

MILESTONE (underline):

Birth - solid

Marriage - dash

Children - dots

Death - strike through

FEELING EVOKED (text style):

Acceptance - bold

Anger - outline

Anxiety - lowercase

Joy - all caps itals

TYPE OF SONG (typeface) [only for the font enthusiasts]:

Ballad - Gotham

Anthem - Memphis

Spiritual - Plantin

Freeform - Black Boton

Posted: February 20, 2009
A Beginner’s Guide to Animal Collective