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Blinking Lights And Other Revelations
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See all 17 tracks on this disc
|1. Dust Of Ages|
|2. Old Shit/ New Shit|
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|4. Hey Man (Now You're Really Living)|
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|6. To Lick Your Boots|
|7. If You See Natalie|
|8. Sweet Li'l Thing|
|9. Dusk: A Peach In The Orchard|
|10. Whatever Happened To Soy Bomb|
See all 16 tracks on this disc
A homemade epic, 'Blinking Lights'is an imaginative, emotional reflection on the condition of living, recorded mostly in Everett's Los Angeles basement over a period of several years. Sprawling over it's two discs are songs about faith, responsibility, growing up, dignity, disappointment, comfort, hope and renewal. It's the most personal eels album since 1998's Electro Shock Blues'. That album dealt with the nearly simultaneous suicide of Everett's sister and terminal illness of his mother, from the subjects' points of view. This album finds him a few years down the line, now battling some of the family demons himself, with the after effects of past tragedies becoming more of a personal issue in his adult life, sometimes fearlessly autobiographical, and other times built around the related stories of others. Vagrant. 2005.
Top Customer Reviews
"Blinking Lights and Other Revelations" has been worked on, on and off, throughout the past decade, which makes it a bit uneven in places. Every band grows and changes, and so do the songs included here. But after a quiet, twinkly intro, the Eels launch into expansive folk-rock, country, explosive rock'n'roll, hallucinogenic music-box music, delicate piano pop, and melancholy songs dripping with whiskey and depression.
The first disc is a hodgepodge of styles, veering without rhyme or reason from one style to another. The second is a bit softer and milder -- despite the odd rock song like "Losing Streak," it relies more heavily on the poignant acoustic tunes, bits of experimental music, and delicate piano tunes.
Mark "E" Everett's voice has been worn to a croak in places, but he can still emote with the best of them."The stars shine in the sky tonight/like a path beyond the grave/when you wish upon that star/there's two of us you need to see," he sings mournfully over piano and swelling strings. He sounds tired and a bit croaky, but he pulls through on most songs.
There's no such unsteadiness in the Eels' music -- in fact, they sound more confident than ever before. It's rooted in guitar, drums and other typical rock instruments. But the Eels have spiced it up with piano, strings, eerie sound effects, bells, electric organ, xylophone and creaking hinges. Yes, creaking hinges -- at least that's what it sounds like.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
What I do want to share here, because the power of its music took me there without much of a choice on my part, is how this album stands so firmly and beautifully on its own, and it takes Eels music even farther that it has managed to go so far.
You've probably read already about Eels' "E" Everett's tragic family losses -her mother and sister dying within a short frame of time several years ago, her sibling by committing suicide- and about this double album being a diary of sorts of his coming to terms with these events, written and worked on for close to seven years.
I assume that some people -whether out of empathy, solidarity or morbid curiosity- may have been attracted to this music given reports of his mental fragility and their love for this man's music. In my case -nothing I'm necessarily proud of- when it comes to any art form, the artist's life is secondary: neither something I believe to predict the beauty or value of their work, nor a guarantee of depth because their subject is apparently serious.
Bottom line, I want to hear someone who can say something ... anything -that although very personal- has the capacity to be relevant to my life and help me learn something about the world that I was too busy or too dense to have noticed by myself. In other words, I don't want to read someone else's "journal" but make more sense of mine.
This is where Everett has succeeded so much. Whether you've been through similar or so much grief as he has or not, this music is going to educate your heart and bless you with some of the most moving songs you may hear all year.
As he sings on "The Trouble With Dreams," "the problem with dreams is that you never know / when to hold and when to let go," yet Everett chose, perhaps, the hardest path: to take on every dream and find out which ones keep close and which ones he was ready to say goodbye to.
In that sense, these songs, at times, may be somber but not depressing. There's no wallowing in pain but a diary of personal healing. Honest and sad, hopeful and tender, Eels' songs make his experience matter to anyone human and willing enough to hop on for the ride.
Musically, you can expect the depth and variety he's already shown in past albums: hushed folk confessions, gorgeous pop moments, timely strings and disturbing passages. All in all, this is further proof of Everett's impressive musical breadth and remarkable depth of feeling.
Even if you are a long time fan of Eels, "Blinking Lights ..." is bound to hold surprises for you. If not new sounds perhaps, there will certainly be special moments, where the vulnerability, candor and courage of these songs will take you over, and leave you seeing with new eyes.
Everything changed for me with the release of "Blinking Lights and Other Revelations." The stark and honest material is complemented by Everett's emotive singing. The listener joins Everett through his melancholy journey through life. The trip is broken up with several "rest stops" with reprises of the "Blinking Lights Theme," always presented in a slightly different form. This helps the double disc album hold together as one cohesive piece of work.
Their current sound reminds me a lot of older Wilco, alt.-country/folk/pop, hard to categorize. Everett is like Bob Dylan without the metaphors, his feelings are presented in a plain and concise manner. I don't mean to imply that it's simplistic stuff, just not flowery.
This album is the uncorking of raw emotion without any trace of pretense. Although the band experiments with many unusual timbres, the album does not feel over-produced or self-indulgent. Could this have been cut down to one fantastic disc? Sure. But the passing of time is an important part of the experience. Plug your headphones into your stereo or iPod and take this trip with Eels. It's worth it.
Now lyrically, we all know the story, and backstory, and I'm now burning through his catalog prior to BL, and while not finding the work the calibur as BL, that would be an impossibility, for here it is. This album is the sum of E's life, musically, narratively,figuratively, and literally. This guy knows exactly where he is in his life and in his head, and says to us, "I am here." It took E seven years to get to the lyrics of the last song "Grandkids," and the small army of us who can relate to what E is sharing in that song, it's the best album-ending song ever. It's the song, the answer, the place he's been looking for for those seven years, he found it, and shared it with us. If you know the song, you know what I mean. And now the big question: know where Eels go from there? As a musician, where does one go after one finds his answer?
As for the "essential" satus, I will repeat: what has been done here muically is genius and lyrically is untouchable. The album excels beyond the circumstances and seven years' effort taken to create it.