But for now we are young, let us lay in the sun
February 10, 2008 5:57 PM   Subscribe

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was released 10 years ago today. Happy Neutral Milk Hotel day.

The article in the third link above was written by Will Sheff, frontman of Okkervil River.
posted by ludwig_van (123 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Can you believe it's been just over 10 years since OK Computer as well?
posted by parallax7d at 6:04 PM on February 10, 2008

That album, way way way ahead of its time and out there. Nobody's even come close since.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:06 PM on February 10, 2008

One of my favorite albums, but in a way that if someone told me they loathed it, I'd nod and say, "I can see that."
posted by Bookhouse at 6:07 PM on February 10, 2008 [8 favorites]

Make sure to scroll down and watch the videos in the stereogum post if you've not seen them a million times like I have.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:08 PM on February 10, 2008

Here's a loverly cover of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, by some guy.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:08 PM on February 10, 2008

in a way that if someone told me they loathed it, I'd nod and say, "I can see that."

Hmm, when that happens I usually back away slowly and do my best to never speak to that person again. But horses for courses.

On preview: Ha! Thanks Alvy. I was actually thinking about recording it again in honor of the anniversary. It's fun to check out all the versions on youtube. This is a nice one.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:16 PM on February 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thanks, ludwig_van - happy NMHD to you too! That's been one of my favorite songs for about 7 years (ok, I was a bit late to catch on).
posted by moonmilk at 6:18 PM on February 10, 2008

I'm convinced that this album will have the same influence and longevity as, say, The Velvet Underground or Nick Drake. Truly classic.
posted by starkeffect at 6:23 PM on February 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

I don't get it. I still don't get it.

A friend once gave me a copy of this album, saying that it was "better than OK Computer" and "would change my life." When i put it on, i was certain that it was a joke, maybe something that a recording industry major threw together in an hour as some sort of sick parody of indie rock. I told my friend, ha, good one, you really burned me.... and it took me quite awhile to realize that she was in fact serious.

I still can't understand how anyone could like this tripe. Yet, everyone does. Now i have to find that disc and listen again, just to make sure.
posted by ELF Radio at 6:27 PM on February 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's an excellent CD, one of my favorites.

Didn't somebody on MetaFilter write a book about Neutral Milk Hotel? I'd like to find it.
posted by Corduroy at 6:32 PM on February 10, 2008

Is it me or does this album leave you remembering exactly what you were feeling and doing the first time that you heard it? For me it was in a little apartment in Jersey City, unpacking, again. I heard the Jesus Christ song for the first time and found myself all f'n emo crying, not knowing why I loved this "Jesus" song. I think I put that album on every day for 6 months after that.
After 10 years it still stays on more of my "on the go" mixes than any other band.
posted by brinkzilla at 6:37 PM on February 10, 2008

I have to thank my college roommate for giving the album the six hundred spins necessary for it to penetrate my defenses. (Glenn MacDonald also has my gratitude for making its appeal so concrete in his review of the album.)

Over the Sea really is one of those fabled records that gets better the more you listen to it. Unfortunately for its crossover appeal, Jeff Mangum's voice is so singularly unattractive that most people will throw it away after listen #1.
posted by Iridic at 6:37 PM on February 10, 2008

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is only album they made that was so good that I didn't mind hearing that dude's voice.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:40 PM on February 10, 2008

Kim Cooper did indeed write a book about Aeroplane as part of Continuum's excellent 33.3 series.

I can't believe it's been ten years since this album came out. It was released the February after my dad died, and it hit me where I lived. Hard. In fact, I baked a cake for Jeff Mangum.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:40 PM on February 10, 2008

Oh holy shit I'm old.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:42 PM on February 10, 2008 [2 favorites]

I love this record. Love. It. I am not going to read any of this thread, though, because I'm nt interested in hearing how much my favorite record sucks, especially once jonmc comes along to tell us how much better "honest, workin' man's" rock bands like the Dictators are.

(For what it's worth, it's not actually my favorite record, but it's definitely in the top 10.)
posted by dersins at 6:43 PM on February 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

I love it so much. It's ecstatic mad music. It must be beautiful and scary to be Jeff Mangum every day.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:47 PM on February 10, 2008

Oh who knew! Funny! I am involved in a group video project interpreting Aeroplane that just wrapped up after three years in the making and planning! It's being screened next week in Brooklyn. The timing is nice. (self? link to my friends flickr of a poster a different friend made.) Tomatoes & Radiowire.
posted by c at 6:50 PM on February 10, 2008

And golly, he has a purdy wife (who also made a cool film).
posted by Corduroy at 6:50 PM on February 10, 2008

When i put it on, i was certain that it was a joke, maybe something that a recording industry major threw together in an hour as some sort of sick parody of indie rock.

This is how I felt upon my first exposure to the Mountain Goats, which in some circles is pretty close to revered Neutral Milk Hotel status. In hindsight, I think it's one of those things where you just had to be there, before everyone started calling it the best album ever made and whatnot. Plus In The Aeroplane is a prime example of leaving the audience wanting more, aka the Loveless effect—Jeff Magnum seemed to disappear from the face of the earth shortly after recording the album, and we will probably never see another Neutral Milk Hotel album ever again.

I don't think I'd call it one of my most favourite albums ever, but if I had to think back to all the albums I bought in the late 90s, I can't think of many that have stood the test of time quite so well. In The Aeroplane Over the Sea feels so much like the singleminded, poetically bizarre storybook vision of a reclusive mind that it's hard not to appreciate it at least as a unique artifact.
posted by chrominance at 6:50 PM on February 10, 2008

I'll have to give NMH one more shot - I tried listening to them twice, and they never caught my ear. Yet scads of people tell me about this album all the time.
posted by not_on_display at 6:53 PM on February 10, 2008

In The Aeroplane Over the Sea feels so much like the singleminded, poetically bizarre storybook vision of a reclusive mind that it's hard not to appreciate it at least as a unique artifact.

That is a beautiful synopsis. I am never sure how much I like the album, but I've listened to it for a hell of a long time now.
posted by blacklite at 6:55 PM on February 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

One of my favorite albums, but in a way that if someone told me they loathed it, I'd nod and say, "I can see that."

That's a good way of putting it. I bet it's really hard to get into them now, because there's so much hype surrounding them. In many ways, they're more of a songwriter's band than an everyman's band. I'm not exactly sure what I mean by that, but it makes sense to me.
posted by spiderskull at 6:57 PM on February 10, 2008

Is it me or does this album leave you remembering exactly what you were feeling and doing the first time that you heard it?

Heh. I was in the middle of a makeout session when "Ghost" came on the radio. We both had to stop and listen to it. :) I could actually feel myself starting to love music again.

I imagine there have been only one or two instances in which the assertion "semen stains the mountaintops" has been forgivable, and ITAOTS was one of them. Thanks for the post.
posted by regicide is good for you at 6:58 PM on February 10, 2008

With respect to opening lines and hooks in an honest-to-God album-opener, "King of Carrot Flowers Pt. I" is pretty damn hard to beat. This is an LP that announces its neurotic vulnerabilities and mad-grandiose intentions with literally the first line and first three chords of the first song and then proceeds to actually fucking deliver. Pardon the language, but I was late to the Aeroplane party and haven't soured on it yet. Don't really expect to, either. But I could see how all of the hyped reviews and personal anecdotes could put someone off or raise their expectations unfortunately high. But man, it still gets (to) me.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:58 PM on February 10, 2008

That "King of Carrots" video was recorded in SF just a week or so before I saw them at The Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS. The sound there at the time was wretched so it was as if they'd been wrapped in cotton. Of course, there was no way to know at the time that that would be my only chance to ever see them.

My clearest memories of the show: my date, a recovering preacher's kid, laughed incredibly loud when Jeff held "Jesus Chriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiist" for what seemed the better part of a minute. I gave him the people's elbow and he was fairly contrite. He later explained it was the look of surprise on everyone's face at such a very long Jesus in such a very dark and smoky bar that did him in.

Afterwards I wanted to go up to Jeff and say hi but this other girl walked up to him and gave him a plate of fucking brownies, and he smiled hugely at her, and I just didn't know how to go up to him after that. Hi, here's my barrette, it'll keep the hair out of your eyes? So I passed. The regret I felt after that is why I've always made double-damn sure to talk to anyone who seemed open to it after a show. It's always worked out well, too.

Ten years. I honestly had no idea. I hope the next ten are much kinder to them all, because that record has got me through the dark more than once. Feel free not to understand that -- I don't mind even a little bit. And not because anyone else told me it would, either. It just did.
posted by melissa may at 6:58 PM on February 10, 2008 [6 favorites]

Shouldn't that be Neutral Milk Hotel Awareness Day?
posted by wendell at 6:58 PM on February 10, 2008

One thing about NMH that makes it special to me is that I found their music completely on my own, bascially at random. It was the first music that I found and enjoyed without any influence from anyone else. I literally didn't meet another NMH fan for a couple years.
posted by Corduroy at 6:59 PM on February 10, 2008

I love this album. It has to be one of my favorite albums of all time. King of Carrot Flowers pt.1 and Two-Headed Boy are my faves.

Two Headed Boy is the most sincere, heartfelt ballad sung to a dead freak in a glass jar that has ever been composed. It sometimes makes me cry.

My buddy knew that I have a soft spot for freaks and sideshows, and human anomalies, and played just that one song for me, and it changed my life. I sometimes will listen to this album over and over again. Jeff Mangum is a genius, and I wish he'd make more music.

posted by MythMaker at 7:02 PM on February 10, 2008

This is how I felt upon my first exposure to the Mountain Goats, which in some circles is pretty close to revered Neutral Milk Hotel status.

Funny you should mention that:

The Mountain Goats -- Two-Headed Boy
posted by Iridic at 7:07 PM on February 10, 2008 [2 favorites]

Oh holy shit I'm old.

Oh, you're not so old. At least you're young enough to have heard of the album before just now.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:16 PM on February 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

I still can't understand how anyone could like this tripe.

What I don't understand is how some people can't accept that everyone everywhere likes different music. If you hear it, that means someone likes it.
posted by ORthey at 7:20 PM on February 10, 2008

i havent quite gotten "aeroplane" but count "on avery island" amongst my desert island discs.
go figger.
posted by oigocosas at 7:28 PM on February 10, 2008

I was teaching english in korea, and pretty much alone besides an iBook when I fell in love with NMH. The memories I have of listening to NMH from my 6th floor abode overlooking smoggy downtown seoul and drinking too much are precious to me.

Though it seems like more than 10 years ago, it is almost too easy for me to bring myself back to those times. Thanks for the thread, and I'll be listening to the album tonight!
posted by localhuman at 7:30 PM on February 10, 2008

Oh, you're not so old. At least you're young enough to have heard of the album before just now.

Yeah, but I think of this as "their new album".
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:31 PM on February 10, 2008

I found that this book is the perfect companion to the music of Neutral Milk Hotel. I was reading this book when I first heard Two-headed boy and it made listening to this song one of the trippiest and most disturbing moments of my life.
posted by Foam Pants at 7:38 PM on February 10, 2008

Yeah, but I think of this as "their new album".

Well, it still sounds new to me, so I can relate.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:39 PM on February 10, 2008

Scarcely a week has passed in these ten years that I haven't listened to this album.
posted by birdie birdington at 7:42 PM on February 10, 2008

Dave Faris: "Oh holy shit I'm old.

Oh, you're not so old. At least you're young enough to have heard of the album before just now.

I'm old enough that I've heard of this album but never gotten around to actually hearing it.
posted by octothorpe at 7:50 PM on February 10, 2008

What was it about 1997 then for incredible indie rock albums? We had this, OK Comp, Perfect From Now On, Homogenic, I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One, Lonesome Crowded West, Young Team, Portishead, Contemplating the Engine Room, Dismemberment Plan is Terrified, Urban Hymns. Man, what a good year.
posted by nonreflectiveobject at 8:00 PM on February 10, 2008 [7 favorites]

I'm one of those people who can't understand why people don't like this album, but context is probably part of it. The only introduction to it I had was my friend says "I think you'll like this. It's really great" before putting on Holland 1949. It took a few months of occasionally listening before it clicked for me, but ever since it did, it's remained one of my most loved albums. I haven't liked the stuff which I feel is seen as NMH's successors--The Arcade Fire being one grossly overhyped example--although subsequent to NMH I did discover and fall in love with The Mountain Goats and Okkervil River, who are dissimilar in a lot of ways that matter, but who both write about familiar worlds.

Funny, reading Will Sheff's blurb about NMH, I know that if I hadn't already heard the band I would be little convinced to download even a few tracks. Banding together a garage-full of eclectic instruments to create an "epic psychedelic folk-punk concept album about Anne Frank's life" sounds incredibly boring. It would fit better in a Pitchfork sidebar about some no-name brooklynite group. I've already heard the music, so I know exactly what he means, but if I were approaching the band fresh I would assume it was another mildly interesting Elephant 6 outfit and pass on by. At worst, I would sneer when someone mentioned them at a party and change the subject.

That said, I'm convinced that if they hear it at the right moment, nearly everyone would like Neutral Milk Hotel. Or maybe I should say In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, since Ludwig_van decided to place the moment of the band's significance at the release date of that album even though NMH had been around for a while before that. It's a fair assessment. Some of the earlier stuff is great; Song Against Sex and Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone are fantastic tracks from the album On Avery Island, which came out two years prior to Aeroplane. Some, or even most of it, is crap. Hunt up Everything Is for some examples of unlistenable music. Chrominance is spot on when he says that part of the band's appeal is Mangum's disappearance, although reclusive authors do not necessarily make good work. If I heard the album for the first time today I would hear in it all the retrospective echoes of the bands who heard Aeroplane and tried (failed, usually) to do something like it. The background hint of a carnival, the flames at night, World War II, the deadpan surrealism, the European Blues, and the intimate macabre of the characters' bodies. I hoped I'd get the emotion running under it all--the emotion is, after all, why people love the album, not the trappings that so many bands took away from it.

I might be talking out of my ass here. I didn't know much about music back then, and I know only a tiny bit more now, but I see a lot of imitators in that scene. Various indie and pseudo-indie bands.

For those of you who don't like NMH, well, different strokes. I'm not a big fan of Radiohead, beyond a few choice tracks--the universal love they inspire is completely inexplicable. I would quote a few of the best NMH lines, but for all that it rests on poetry and wordplay, the album is very much an album and should be listened to as such. The best moments ("In my dreams you're alive and you're crying / As your mouth moves in mine, soft and sweet") sound silly without the context and without Mangum's vocals. Or they might not, I only hear them as part of the song.

Think of it, if you like, as a little collection of poetry that you found in the back of a used book store, bought on a whim, and slowly grew to love. The poems were often bizarre or nonsensical, and the imagery was obtusely personal to the poet. But the more you read, the more you see the references and resonances, and you realize that the bones of the stuff is something fundamentally universal, and very, very good in its own little way.

And then you meet a bunch of other people who won't shut up about how great the poems are, and Pitchfork hears all the acclaim and changes their original 8.5 rating of the album to 10.0, and you wonder if maybe you only liked them because you heard the album when you were an over-emotional adolescent. Yet 5 years later, I still think Neutral Milk Hotel is fantastic. Of all the bands that I hoped I would never stop loving, they're one of the few I always have.
posted by postcommunism at 8:04 PM on February 10, 2008 [5 favorites]

I like to sing NMH in the shower. The roomies probably think I'm bonkers.

I love the Mountain Goats too, but that Two-Headed Boy cover is kind of obnoxious.
posted by naoko at 8:09 PM on February 10, 2008

In 2004, as I was dealing with other (painful) things in my life, the Pixies went on tour, and although they came through the town I was in, I didn't have time to catch them. I hadn't really listened to them before, so it didn't seem like a big deal. But a few months later, what the heck, I bought their "best of" album. A couple months after that, I was all "why did no one inform me of this band?" One of my roommates' responses was "OK then, I'm telling you about Neutral Milk Hotel right now." A few months after that I finally got around to listening to ITAOTS and had to shut it down after 3 or 4 songs. Sure that first song's opening riff was pretty catchy, but I just couldn't take that guy's voice and the cacophony surrounding it. Somehow I gave it another try a few months after that, and managed to listen to the end. Since then I can't count the number of times I've listened to it. Oh wait, iTunes can, and it's in the low 4 digits. Yikes.

The first (failed) attempt at listening to the album, I was on Amtrak, near Lake Champlain, bound for NYC. Since then my only specific memory of listening to the album is late nights on the subway, on the way home from work, and how that last glorious song on the album always came on just as I was trudging back to my apartment in Brooklyn.

Thanks kaibutsu for helping to introduce me to NMH.
posted by A dead Quaker at 8:15 PM on February 10, 2008

naoko: you're not alone. [on either count]
posted by kowalski at 8:15 PM on February 10, 2008

Oh holy shit I'm old.

Heck, albums I bought on release have grandchildren older than this album! Get away from my turntable, you pesky kids!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:20 PM on February 10, 2008

I first heard a few songs from this album when I was 14 years old. I had randomly found a massive directory listing of mp3s some indie fan furry had uploaded unprotected on his site, along with some mildly disturbing pictures that didn't keep me from profiting from his music. I think my family was about to leave for dinner at a restaurant, so I quickly copied the files onto my little mp3 player that help about 15 songs (this was about 2003) and listened to them again as soon as I could, in the car and watching kids play at the "family friendly" restaurant's playground. Kind of a weird combination. I still check that site every once in a while, in case he puts it back up. That furry dude introduced me to a shit load of fantastic music.

I was struck pretty much immediately by the music and it still makes me feel more than almost any other album. I'm listening to it right now and it makes my heart feel like breaking. Every word and cadence feels like a rope pulling from the center of my chest.
posted by MadamM at 8:27 PM on February 10, 2008

Personally I'm still waiting for the moment when The Mountain Goats sounds at all special or unusual, though lots of people whose tastes I like swear by them. I've often thought of John Vanderslice as the guy who carries the Neutral Milk Hotel torch most faithfully, especially in terms of writing complexly-layered songs and having a voice that many will not love. (He also explicitly references NMH, his earlier band named an album after a lyric in Song Against Sex.) He also has that "one obsessive guy in his studio" vibe, which is how I think of NMH although I'm not at all sure that's how they operated.

Of course, it's also worth bringing up the whole Elephant 6 scene they were part of too, and look, just in time for that, Elephant 6 fan site / blog Optical Atlas is beginning a series of postings on essential Elephant 6 albums.
posted by whir at 8:36 PM on February 10, 2008

God, how I love this album. That is all.
posted by monkey!knife!fight! at 8:37 PM on February 10, 2008

Yay NHM! I played the shit out of that album.

tons of live cuts, covers, and outakes for those interested (via comments in one of the links above)
posted by lester the unlikely at 8:38 PM on February 10, 2008

Ok. You guys convinced me. I'm downloading the album from amazon as we speak.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:40 PM on February 10, 2008

What was it about 1997 then for incredible indie rock albums?

XO, perhaps Elliott Smith's best work, came out the following year. No coincidence.
posted by inoculatedcities at 8:45 PM on February 10, 2008

Last night we went out for Thai dinner. I got steamed dumplings, and they came with a carrot flower garnish. I gave it to my boyfriend and pronounced him the King of Carrot Flowers, and we sang a few lines.

I'll never forget the first time I heard this album. For about the first 30 seconds I was all "Oh, not more of this earnest fey music." Then I was all "This is incredible."
posted by Miko at 8:52 PM on February 10, 2008

Huzzah for Mangum.
This album was recommended to me by an ex-bandmate who very highly recommended it, and I remember cocking my head as it started, but by the third song I understood, and soon enough everything I listened to paled in comparison.

I regret missing their brief live career, but treasure the disk (lent to many people, who never seem to be able to give it back. I've bought it 5 times. Bafflingly, this doesn't bother me much.)

At my peak of listening to it, I subjected coworkers to it (none of whom appreciated being subjected to the mental image of mountaintops covered in semen, but hey...).

There's power in them there songs.
thanks for this.
not heard of the 33.3333 book previously.
it will be added to long 'must read' list I've got.
posted by Busithoth at 8:53 PM on February 10, 2008

What was it about 1997 then for incredible indie rock albums?

I wouldn't consider Bjork or Portishead indie rock, and Radiohead/Verve only in the sense that they play rock music, but yes. Add to the list Sleater-Kinney's Dig Me Out. Or you could just ask the AV Club about it. (Also posted to Metafilter)
posted by chrominance at 9:03 PM on February 10, 2008 [2 favorites]

Overall, I'm in the "I don't quite get it" camp, but "Holland, 1945" is an incredible track.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:04 PM on February 10, 2008

Dave Faris: be warned, he has a whiney/nasally voice. At first, annoying. But he has a thing where he doesn't inhale for like 60+ seconds at a time, singing continuously, and it makes for very "addictive" listening -- in the sense that once you listen to it a few times, it gets better, and you're waiting for those long sustains, and holding your breath with him as he sings. The music is good, but I think that physical aspect (holding your breath while he sustains) is a subtle part of what makes this (and Gardenhead and song vs sex from Avery Island, mentioned above) such a "must listen to it again" thing after the first few times. It's physical. Go get those two songs too, while you're at it.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:05 PM on February 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Love, love, loved In an Aeroplane Over the Sea from the first play until today and forever on. Thanks for the post.

Since someone mentioned John Darnielle, I'll say the same thing about Sweden (why did the Swedish Chef have human hands, anyway?), and while I'm at it, I'll throw in There's Nothing Wrong with Love.

Three of the best "sophomore" albums of all time, imo. (Yes, I know the Mountain Goats had a buttload of stuff before Zopilote Machine.)
posted by mrgrimm at 9:06 PM on February 10, 2008

I love this record. Granted, it took me a little while to get into it but I have a good excuse. I was blinded by my admiration of The Olivia Tremor Control. I was at an OTC show (back when the Horseshoe in Toronto was an Elephant 6 hotspot -- god, those were some amazing shows) and Jeff was pulled-up on stage for a few songs and it was a veritable lock for me.

I picked-up On The Airplane after that show and never looked back. Can't believe that it's been ten years.
posted by purephase at 9:08 PM on February 10, 2008

more than anything, that man's voice puts me in mind of being stuck in a speeding minivan with a bunch of self-styled "musicians" (none of them especially fond of bathing) on some indeterminate stretch oh highway in the carolinas.

these are not fond memories.
posted by wreckingball at 9:08 PM on February 10, 2008

why did the Swedish Chef have human hands, anyway?

So he could throw stuff around, of course! The Swedish Chef just isn't unless there're airborne foodstuffs and implements.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:08 PM on February 10, 2008

Oh shit, chrominance just reminded me that Call the Doctor was a sophomore album too ... another one of my all-time faves.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:09 PM on February 10, 2008

I think it's not so much the whiney/nasally voice as he doesn't (can't? won't?) sing in tune. Maybe that is part of the mystery.
posted by Rumple at 9:11 PM on February 10, 2008

I don't know what rock my head was under when this came out. Nor do I know how in the 10 years since (including a year-long stay in Seattle) I've never even heard of this band or album. Normally, when people get all hopped up on some indie album or other, I go "uhh.. I guess ya had to be there".

But even listening to the 30-second samples on iTunes made me go "ho.....lyfuck".

Thank you for taking my head out from under the aforementioned rock. This should be interesting...
posted by revmitcz at 9:15 PM on February 10, 2008

While I'm bummed they've never released a proper album since Aeroplane, part of me is glad, because in all likelihood it would not live up to Aeroplane, thus saving me from massive disappointment.

On the other hand, if it turned out better than Aeroplane, then everyone's heads would pretty much explode.
posted by puritycontrol at 9:18 PM on February 10, 2008

Another one in the "Really Tried to Like It, Tried to Find Beauty in It, Played It a Few Times to See If I Could Convince Myself, But Just Ended Up Hating It Over and Over Again" column.

I think the big difference between this and, say, OK Computer, is that OK Computer doesn't suck nuts. I remember the first time I heard OK Computer was in a convertible driving 80 mph. going south on I95, the roar of the wind and traffic almost entirely blocking out any sound coming from my car's anemic speakers, and yet, even though I could only make out a bare whisper of the music, after it was over I asked my friend, "What was that? That was great!" as I started the CD over again.

But ItAOtS... none such happy memory.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:18 PM on February 10, 2008

But even listening to the 30-second samples on iTunes made me go "ho.....lyfuck".

Thank you for taking my head out from under the aforementioned rock. This should be interesting...

You know, revmitcz, I'm actually kinda happy for you. I hope you enjoy it.
posted by regicide is good for you at 9:22 PM on February 10, 2008

I always liked On Avery Island okay but never got into In the Aeroplane - at the time it came out, I felt it was preachy and forced. I doubt I'll ever feel the need to revisit it, as it's a style of music that no longer interests me.

The NMH show I saw in Austin at the Electric Lounge in 1997 (98?) was incredible, however.
posted by item at 9:24 PM on February 10, 2008

Oh, and speaking of sucking nuts: Okkervil River.
posted by item at 9:26 PM on February 10, 2008

Oh yeah, Led Zeppelin II was pretty decent, too. Just ignore me.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:28 PM on February 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yeah, item, they put on a hell of a show.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:32 PM on February 10, 2008

Although In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is a much better album, On Avery Island's "Song Against Sex" might be the best song they ever did (sorry, no YT link-- the only live version I could find was a little too live).
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 9:57 PM on February 10, 2008

NolanRyanHatesMatches: Wow, I did not know about that. You have made the day when I have time to listen to those.

I came pretty late to the NMH game (2004, I think), but man did that album hit me hard. Looking at today's indie rock, I think it may have had a bad effect on the music scene it was so good - everyone started trying to immitate it, but no one could come close. Still, it was worth it.

Also, I'm a pretty huge Mountain Goats fan, but I really don't see why everyone considers them similar to NMH. Sure, both have rough production, a lyrical focus, and an eccentric voice, but apart from that they're in two different worlds. I can't see Jeff Mangum singing anything like "No Children."
posted by obvious at 10:06 PM on February 10, 2008

I came late to this party as well..... I didn't even know it was a party. I found Two-Headed Boy through Pandora a year or two ago, which led me to the album. I was immediately hooked. Until I saw this thread, I didn't realize the album has had such a following.
posted by mach at 10:32 PM on February 10, 2008

Or maybe I should say In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, since Ludwig_van decided to place the moment of the band's significance at the release date of that album even though NMH had been around for a while before that.

Whoa dude, I love On Avery Island, but it wasn't the tenth anniversary of that.

But he has a thing where he doesn't inhale for like 60+ seconds at a time, singing continuously

Yeah, Jeff Mangum was a great singer. The way people talk about his voice is weird. Like this:

I think it's not so much the whiney/nasally voice as he doesn't (can't? won't?) sing in tune.

Mangum P.I. sings plenty in tune my friend. I know I've posted this before (possibly in my last NMH post) but the Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone from the (linked on the aforementioned bootleg etc. site) is a truly amazing performance that really shows off his voice.

Also, listen to Engine and Oh Sister if you haven't, I think they're essential. And there's Little Birds, the only post-Aeroplane song.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:41 PM on February 10, 2008

Oh no, bad link! Here's Gardenhead, starting at 2:23 after he stops Two-Headed Boy.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:48 PM on February 10, 2008

Mangum P.I. sings plenty in tune my friend...

I was going to post basically the same thing. Mangum's pitch is quite good. There might be a couple moments when he loses it (intentionally or not), but to claim that he never sings in tune is just wrong. Almost bafflingly so.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:12 PM on February 10, 2008

This is the album that got me into (new) music again.

I usually put something on and give it a background listen or two while I grow accustomed to it. This one I was mesmerized almost immediately. I fully admit that there was a strange and baffling moment in the beginning: This cacophony is music?! I got over it.
posted by dhartung at 11:39 PM on February 10, 2008

People sometimes talk about "desert island" lists. You know, If you were were stuck on a desert island what 5 albums would you want to listen to while you were stuck there? I always thought of that questions along the lines of What albums would help pass the time?

And then I heard this album. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. And I thought that this changed the nature of the desert island question, because here is an album that isn't going to just help me pass the time. It's an album that's existence will torment me if have to live the rest of my life unable to hear it again.

Right now, it's the only one on the list.
posted by dogwalker at 11:50 PM on February 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Well, no one has ever accused me of having a golden ear, but there are parts of Aeroplane over the Sea where he most definitely does lose the pitch. Blackboard style. Even my daughter, who is an accomplished musician type, agrees (and she LOVES NMH). But now you suggest it, maybe it is intentional. I suppose the majority of the drone is, in fact, a tuneful drone - but those exceptions really ruin it for me. And that youtube link is not very convincing, before or after 2.23, but thanks for the link. I mean, the howlie thing at about 4.10 is sharp, no?

I bet Beethoven couldn't sing either.
posted by Rumple at 12:43 AM on February 11, 2008

He does open his mouth very wide, though, I will give him that.
posted by Rumple at 12:45 AM on February 11, 2008

Thanks for this. Returning to the album might be the thing that gets me through this week.

Also, All Hail West Texas FTW. Hands down.
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:58 AM on February 11, 2008

...ludwig_v that girl sings really nicely. Thanks.

posted by From Bklyn at 1:12 AM on February 11, 2008

This album is awe-inspiring - a stream of pure, unadulterated love, despair, hope, longing, vulnerability. Thank you, Jeff Mangum, for the privilege of a glimpse into your bizarre and beautiful mind.

And when we break we'll wait for our miracle
God is a place where some holy spectacle lies
And when we break we'll wait for our miracle
God is a place you will wait for the rest of your life

posted by granted at 1:41 AM on February 11, 2008

My (possibly joint-, although I'm not sure if 69 Love Songs is quite up there with it anymore) favourite album. Holland, 1945 is my favourite song.

And I came late to it. About a year ago maybe. I'll be eternally grateful to my friend for introducing it to me. She loves it, a little obsessively. But this is the kind of album that you love obsessively. (Have you seen some of the art people have made inspired by this album? Try searching for NMH on places like Flickr and Etsy.)

His voice? I've loved his voice from the very beginning. He's my favourite singer. I don't think, except in the odd place here and there, that he sings out of tune either - not to my ears anyway. But when I tried to explain to my friend why I love his voice so much, I think what I said was that his voice just sounds warm to me. That's what I look for, and his sounds warmer than anyone else's. I trust it.

Oh and, have you tried singing along to his songs? The man has the biggest pair of lungs in the universe. He does not need to breathe. He probably just does it to blend among the normals.

His music soars. This is what I most look for in music (and in pretty much all forms of art) now. There was a time, many years ago, that I loved OK Computer. I had to sell it (and all my Radiohead albums), because I was feeling hopeless, and at some point I realised I had to hope. I was looking everywhere for it - a kind of hope that accepts sadness and heartbreak, but hopes anyway. For a long while, The Soft Bulletin did it for me. But Aeroplane (as I call it with my friend) is it now. That warm, bittersweet hopeful yearning rush.

To Songs Against Sex and Gardenhead/ Leave Me Alone from On Avery Island, allow me to add A Baby For Pree and Where You'll Find Me Now.

I have to say I didn't like most of the 33 1/3 book, even if some of the information in there was good to know. But here are some covers I like on Youtube:

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
Song Against Sex
Holland, 1945
posted by Ira.metafilter at 2:49 AM on February 11, 2008 [2 favorites]

Thanks for this, never heard of it before.

I hated it for the first 5 minutes, now I am loving it. Listening to the covers let me see what the original is all about.
posted by Dr. Curare at 3:12 AM on February 11, 2008

I first purchased this album on a whim in May of '98, as a birthday gift to myself. At the time I was a huge Galaxie 500-family-of-bands fan and I knew Jeff had written a song about Naomi Yang, but the store was sold out of Avery. The cover art for Aeroplane captivated me and I brought it home.

At the time I got it, I was helping my mother settle my father's estate. My dad had died of pancreatic cancer the year before, and his death was rather sudden. The specific date of death was his birthday, and I was the one who found him. Because work was scarce that summer and I had various meetings with legal counsel, I'd more or less taken the summer off.

The first time I heard Aeroplane, his voice scared me, but the urgency and melody swept me along on a wave of...catharsis? As soon as it was over, I flipped the record and started it again. This began a ritual on all the days I was home, in which I would listen to the album at least once through to get through every day. Listening to it made me feel a lot better. On a musical note (tee hee), every time I heard the album I heard something new...still, to this day. Others have done a better job of describing the music, both for good and for ill, in this thread, and I've already linked to the story of how I made him cake.

As far as those carrying on in Jeff's influence...in addition to the Decemberists and the Arcade Fire -- who have been mentioned here -- I would hasten to add Elvis Perkins, whose album Ash Weds. dropped last year. He has a similarly cathartic approach to music, a somewhat similar voice, and writes about the world in a cockeyed, surrealist way that would do Jeff proud.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:58 AM on February 11, 2008 [2 favorites]

Yep, my favourite album too. There's nothing quite like it.
posted by scruss at 4:33 AM on February 11, 2008

This record simultaneously induces pain and catharsis. I listen to it more frequently than I probably should, given that it almost always makes me cry. Hard to believe it's 10 years.
posted by miss tea at 4:39 AM on February 11, 2008

I didn't hear them until the last year.

I've been a big Wilco fan and people have said to me many times that I have to listen to NMH and that they blow Wilco away.

Well, I still love Wilco, but ItAOtS really does blow most of their stuff away. And I don't mean that as a dis on Wilco.

My favorite song from the album is "Oh Comely." I dream about going back in time to my late 80's college days and stealing that song completely and becoming hugely popular on campus because of my time traveling copyright violation. Small dreams, small dreams.

Anyhow, the album is great and if I wasn't so stubborn, I would have listened to it 10 years ago. As it stands, when a bunch of people tell me I'll like something more than something I already like, I get irrationally pissy.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:01 AM on February 11, 2008

the Pixies went on tour

Next year, Doolittle has it's 20 year anniversary.

/get off my lawn, etc. etc.

posted by gimonca at 5:09 AM on February 11, 2008

This youtube account has four covers that are all quite good - especially if the guy could sing a little better.

Two more things I meant to mention: one, that Jeff Mangum's voice reminds me of religious chanting. And two, my excuse for why it took me so long to actually listen to Neutral Milk Hotel is that Neutral Milk Hotel isn't exactly the most inspiring of band names. It doesn't really call to you to check them out. I suggested in a conversation with a friend that my next band might be called Warm Tea Travelodge. She suggested Ambivalent Soy latte Hostel, which is better, but I still like the Travelodge. Don't know how on earth I ever got to listen to My Morning Jacket.
posted by Ira.metafilter at 5:32 AM on February 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thanks gimonca, now I feel old for having seen Pixies bring Doolittle to the Queens' Hall Edinburgh.
posted by imperium at 6:18 AM on February 11, 2008

I was introduced to Aeroplane and The Soft Bulletin by the same person. I have a lot to thank her for.
posted by Optamystic at 6:53 AM on February 11, 2008

I used to "get" this album. I listened to it all the time, I learned the entire album on my guitar, and I even jammed to it with my roommate. But somewhere along the way, I lost the connection. I haven't listened to it in years. I bet my copy is covered in a layer of dust.

When I first read this post, I thought, "Hey, what a perfect chance to reconnect with such an important album." I'm going to give it a spin, but songs like "Ghost" and "Oh Comely" are looming and I'm not looking forward to that section of the album. The one song that hasn't aged for me is the title track. I still walk around and think to myself, "How strange it is to be anything at all."

G Em C D
posted by AdamFlybot at 7:30 AM on February 11, 2008

1170 Elati Street, Denver, CO, where ITAOTS was recorded, has since been torn down.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:59 AM on February 11, 2008

Late to the party, and my contribution in the face of everybody else's will amount to the equivalent of a ".", but still...

My roommate at college played this album obsessively. He had control over music in the room by virtue of being there more often, which was fine with me, as he had great taste in music. There were a few heavily-played cuts, including Orbital's live cover of the Dr. Who theme song, the Requiem For a Dream soundtrack, and "Girl/Boy Song" by Aphex Twin. None of them, however, could touch the play count of the entirety of Aeroplane, start to finish. I must have heard the album at least a hundred times. I didn't really dig it.

A few years later, I found myself thinking of college, and I put the album on for lulz. Now I can't properly reminisce without it.
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:12 AM on February 11, 2008

Thanks for this! At our wedding, my wife and I used "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" as the song for our first dance. It's a nice waltz. I was amazed at how many of the older folks in attendance commented on how lovely they thought the song was.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:14 AM on February 11, 2008 [4 favorites]

I did buy this album because someone told me to back in '98 and I'm very glad she did. I was listening to a lot of music from the 20s and 30s at the time, mixed with a lot of psych and free jazz, and she thought I would like it. It turns out it's one of my favorite albums ever.

Also, I thought Scram's book was amazing... there's only a handful of the 33 1/3 books that are worth it, and that's definitely one of them.
posted by sleepy pete at 8:39 AM on February 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm another one who found them late - 2005 - and I haven't looked back since. Sometimes I think the sheer joy of suddenly discovering new to me music that feels like it should always have been playing in my head is what keeps me going from day to day. NMH are also inextricably linked to mefi & mecha for me - I first heard Holland, 1945 on metachat radio, loved it obsessively immediately and then it was metafilter's own matildaben who gave me ItAOtS. I've been returning the favor ever since by making all my friends sit down and listen to it: so far, one or two conversions.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:45 AM on February 11, 2008

NMH are also inextricably linked to mefi & mecha for me

Me too, MGL. I heard it on MeCha first as well, but I seem to remember it was someone writing about it (specifically, Holland, 1945) as opposed to Radio. I might be wrong. I'd really like to find out who it was that spurred me on to listen to it, because I need to thank them.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:53 AM on February 11, 2008

I can't believe I've never heard this before. But I guess in 1998 I had just left college and the scene that would absolutely without a doubt have brought it to my ears, so that probably explains it.

Good stuff. But discovering this sort of thing makes me afraid that there's a million others out there I'll never hear, and that's too bad.
posted by rusty at 9:46 AM on February 11, 2008

Up until a year or two ago I had an incredibly bland taste in music, and never heard of anything that wasn't a Top 40 Hit. My girlfriend shared this album with me, and I listen to it regularly. Just about every song on it tugs at me in some way.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 10:18 AM on February 11, 2008


I completely accept that people like this awful album, just as i accept that kids like Britney, pimply teens like Slipknot, and my aunt likes terrible country-pop. That's fine.

I just feel like chiming up with my opinion, you know?

Please don't deny that you've ever heard terrible music -- Puff Daddy, Nickelback, Jessica Simpson -- and you sit there like a Buddha, totally accepting, without uttering a word of displeasure.
posted by ELF Radio at 10:43 AM on February 11, 2008

Don't feed the trolls!
posted by ludwig_van at 11:18 AM on February 11, 2008

Well, like I said, I bought the album on Amazon, and I listened to it, through and through, on my walk this morning. I can see why it would bring tears to your eyes, but maybe not for the same reason. I can't really figure out what many of you find so attractive about it, but I'm not ready to just write it off. I'll give it another listen in a while.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:36 AM on February 11, 2008

I'd almost forget, ludwig_van: thanks for posting this.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:58 AM on February 11, 2008

Hey, an audiogalaxy link! It was a great site.
posted by ersatz at 1:04 PM on February 11, 2008

I was extremely lucky and blown away to see Jeff play his final Neutral Milk Hotel gig in Auckland in 2001. He said he'd had a mental break down several years before and that Chris Knox was the only person who could coax him back on stage. A friend dragged me along (thank-you) and I didn't know the songs then, but it is still in my top 3 concerts of all time.
posted by DOUBLE A SIDE at 1:06 PM on February 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Well, like I said, I bought the album on Amazon, and I listened to it, through and through, on my walk this morning. I can see why it would bring tears to your eyes, but maybe not for the same reason. I can't really figure out what many of you find so attractive about it, but I'm not ready to just write it off. I'll give it another listen in a while.

It's not an immediately accessible album for a lot of people - me included. I first heard the title song five years ago and fell in love with it, mostly for its lyrics. But when I sought out the rest of the album I found it absolutely unlistenable. I remember putting on "The King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 2" and hearing his weird nasally voice wail about his love for Jesus Christ and being like "What the hell is this?" A few years later a friend sent me "Song Against Sex" and "Holland, 1945" and I slowly warmed up to his style - but again, after reading the lyrics and experiencing the songs as a whole, they became not only tolerable but beautiful to me.

When I finally decided to tackle the whole album I went about it sort of like a research project. I spent a lot of time looking up lyrics and reading about the album's background. I had to experience many of the songs in context, as part of the whole story he's sharing, before I could love them in themselves. Eventually, elements that I initially saw as offputting, even alienating, became accessible and welcoming. I feel like it's the closest thing to the pure expression of an inner dream world I've ever come across. Somehow, he managed to avoid the normal filters we force our thoughts through in order to express them, even as art. They're less mangled, less censored. The ugly parts become beautiful precisely because they are ugly, because they are genuine, and because he doesn't hold them back. Was he just more unafraid to hold back, or is part of his genius that he lacks these filters altogether? Probably some of both.

I loved the Pitchfork interview mentioned above. It might be a worthwhile read for those who just don't get it.

But that's the thing: You love people because you know their story. You have sympathy for people even when they do stupid things because you know where they're coming from, you understand where they're at in their head. And so here I am as deep as you can go in someone's head, in some ways deeper than you can go with even someone you know in the flesh. And then at the end, she gets disposed of like a piece of trash. And that was something that completely blew my mind. The references to her on the record-- like "Ghost" refers to her being born. And I would go to bed every night and have dreams about having a time machine and somehow I'd have the ability to move through time and space freely, and save Anne Frank. Do you think that's embarrassing?
posted by granted at 1:14 PM on February 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is about the only whole Elephant 6 album I ever loved; nearly everything else was always a collection of great songs and bum moments (Apples especially). And thanks for this post—I just put the album back on (I'm home from work, sick) and it's still great and weird and tender and flashing and endearing.

I just wish that now, since we're ten years out, that bands could stop trying to remake this album. I know that you can't blame a band based on their imitators, but if I still didn't tear up every now and then when I put it on, I'd fear that it'd done more harm than good.
posted by klangklangston at 2:17 PM on February 11, 2008

Has it been ten years since The Soft Bulletin? Let's talk about the Soft Bulletin.... now that's a perfect 10 album.
posted by ELF Radio at 3:47 PM on February 11, 2008

Dave Faris, I hate writing about music I love, but hate much more reading bad writing about music I love -- and furthermore you deserve to come at it with your own fresh ears and mind. By luck I came to it that way myself, before I knew anything about the band or realized other people were having the feelings I was having, totally unconnected to any hype. (I remember well the year this came out scanning lots of top lists that year, not a habit of mine, specifically looking for it. There wasn't a lot of rapture at the time, not the type you are seeing now. It's been very much a sleeper.)

What I will say is that I grew up seeing and hearing a lot of very cynical things about love, and few of the songs I came of age with used the word as anything but a curse. Even love songs didn't use the word love -- only the very corniest. God wasn't doing too well, either.

So when I heard this record, heard love sung about in this completely uncynical way, it felt more like a revolution to me than a thousand angry punk songs. The word is a constant, right alongside the darkest evils and deepest pain this world has to dish out.

I know very little about spiritual practice or God but there have been acts of grace that have given me a feeling I can only call holy.

Two years into hiding and just a few months from her death, Anne Frank wrote: "It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart." A half a century away Jeff Mangum sang the saddest and most beautiful love songs for her that I'd ever heard anyone of my generation sing.

You may never feel the same. It doesn't matter to me, because what I am trying to make isn't an argument. But I hope this record can give you even just a little of the faith and comfort in other people, in humanity -- in love -- that it gave to me.
posted by melissa may at 4:48 PM on February 11, 2008 [8 favorites]

Well, I guess since I downloaded the album, I only got the music. I didn't get any liner notes, and I haven't parsed through all of the lyrics to even understand their meaning. I didn't even pick up on the tie in with Ann Frank. I can only tell you, as a person who never even knew this album or band existed yesterday, that the music, all by itself, doesn't seem to justify the adulation that I've read here and on amazon. But I can tell you that I've had one of the songs buzzing around inside my head all day long. And considering the love you all feel for the album, I'm not going to dismiss it right off the bat. It does seem a bit like hugging a porcupine at this point, though.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:01 PM on February 11, 2008

FWIW, for me the virtue of the album (and the couple of other NMH songs I've mentioned) isn't that their lyrics are all that great (to me). The lyrics are definitely idiosyncratic and some of the lines are very memorable and evocative, but that alone doesn't set it apart from other bands with oddball sometimes-memorable lines.

Instead, it's something about the music plus his weird vocal quality. And it took a while to set in, with all of their songs - the more I listened to them, the more they wore their special groove in my head and became more and more satisfying to listen to. I think it's an awfully good album and it's wrapped up with a particular time in my life; I wouldn't want to speculate about "best of" etc.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:04 PM on February 11, 2008

But get the album recordings of Song Against Sex (Song vs Sex) and Gardenhead/Leave me Alone. I find those two more accessible.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:07 PM on February 11, 2008

Also Naomi and Engine.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:05 PM on February 11, 2008

Ok, I have never listened to Neutral Milk Hotel, but because of this thread I just bought this album. God help me.
posted by arcticwoman at 10:22 PM on February 11, 2008

Since there's been so much sharing going on, here's another personal anecdote along the same lines.

When I saw NMH play live in Gainesville (well, it was just down to Jeff and Julian at that point), I think somewhere around midway into the set, as Jeff wailed out the lyrics: "Daddy please here this song that I sing... In your heart there's a spark that just screams for a lover to bring a child to your chest that could lay as you sleep and love all you have left," I became inexplicably convinced that Jeff Mangum was channeling the voice of my own as yet unborn son, urging me from across the divide to bring him into the world so that he could be a source of comfort and companionship to me.

At the time, my wife and I were facing a lot of personal difficulties, and we were both struggling to stay sane (in some ways, literally), then suddenly, in that moment, I just felt certain that I was hearing my own as-yet-not-even-conceived son singing directly to me through Jeff's voice (I know, I know--the shrinks call this kind of thing a delusion of reference--I was having them almost constantly around this time, although I've since recovered).

Up until that time, I'd always thought I didn't want children, but I realized then that I wanted nothing in the world more than to have a son who could "lay as [I] slept and love all [I had] left." I was so overwhelmed by this unfamiliar and peculiar feeling of paternal longing that I immediately broke down in tears. And it was literally that one moment on June 27, 1998 that led me to start trying to conceive a child with my wife. And finally, all this time later, after many more tragedies, heartbreaks, and disappointments, there's Ander, and I couldn't be happier.

Laugh away, if you want, but I still tear up a little whenever I hear those lyrics.

Oh, and: "How strange it is to be anything at all"!
posted by saulgoodman at 12:17 PM on February 13, 2008 [7 favorites]

I recorded a cover of Engine to mark the occasion.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:12 PM on February 13, 2008

I had heard the name of the band, but I'm too old to have bought it just because others were buying it, and don't listen to radio, so never heard it before.

I bought this album and the Avery Island one yesterday. I've listened to them three or four times already, and just bought another copy of Aeroplane to send to my best friend, who I'm pretty sure hasn't heard it earlier. I'm listening to it right now.

Whenever I discover new music that moves me, I always think about the me that I was before I found it, and the me I am after. I'm a different person, in some small way, I think.

Thank you.
posted by bigbigdog at 8:29 PM on February 13, 2008 [4 favorites]

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