Friday, June 3, 2011

My Top 12 Songs of All-Time...Right Now: #3

Animal Collective
"My Girls"
Single from the album Merriweather Post Pavilion
Single release date: March 23, 2009
Pitchfork's Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s: 9
NME's Top Songs of 2009: 5
Slant Magazine's Top Songs of 2009: 1

The closest thing to a back-to-back on the countdown, yesterday’s Panda Bear is followed up by the band from which he derives. Animal Collective have taken my listening by storm since I discovered 2007’s Strawberry Jam. Even after sifting through most of their back catalogue, their most recent LP easily stands as my favorite. Like Person Pitch, Merriweather Post Pavilion has garnered tons of plays and obsession, both during and after its year of release. It is not just an album; it is an experience. Although there are no twelve-minute epic centerpieces here, there are certainly prominent standouts. Although there are plenty of excellent Animal Collective tracks, “My Girls” takes the gold as my favorite (and, expectedly, most played) track.

On an album filled with delight over life’s simple pleasures, “My Girls” encapsulates this theme perfectly. It opens with that shimmering fragility, a kind of washing-over effect on the listener. It sounds sugary, like the entrance music to some far-out fantasy land. Initially hazy, the dreamy vocals soon kick in, further enforcing the lullaby aesthetic. The story is quite simple and is fully realized at the irresistible chorus: “I don’t mean / to seem like I care about material things / Like the social stats / I just want/ Four walls and adobe slats for my girls.” After the first instance of the chorus, there’s that piercing, almost celebratory yelp as the chorus repeats with a bit more oomph and stomp-and-handclap…and all is right in the world for a brief moment.

The song is a thing of beauty: It doesn’t do a whole lot and it doesn’t have any crazy “gimmicks” or draws. Yet, it draws you in time and time again. When the chorus repeats several times near the end and everything has coalesced, it could repeat a thousand times more without complaint as they have carved out a slice of beautiful bliss for all to enjoy. Despite listening to it easily over a hundred times (a rare feat for me), words still escape me when trying to describe it. It has almost become one of those indescribable, internal feelings or emotions: You can’t put it into words, but you know what it is and how it makes you feel…and that’s all that matters. Like many of the songs on my Top 12, “My Girls” further cemented Animal Collective as one of my favorite bands, consistently impressing me with their unabashed experimentalism and provoking me to find other bands that try to reach their excellence.

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