The First Great Song of the Obama Era

Warning: Hyperbole and annoyingly effusive praise ahead.

It’s not everyday that you hear a song that just blows your mind. It’s not everyday that an album lives up to the hype. But that is the case with Animal Collective and their new album Merriweather Post Pavilion (released today), specifically the song “My Girls.”

The New York band, building on last year’s wonderful Panda Bear side project, increasingly seems to know how to gracefully weave a tapestry of postmodern musical mish-mash sounds—everything from screams to techno beeps to industrial crashes and subtle piano. Merriweather refines their sound and focuses their experimental tendencies like never before, resulting in an album that is an instant 21st century classic.

But what I really want to talk about is track #2, “My Girls” (which you can listen to here). It’s everything a song should be and more. It’s a song that builds: starts out quiet, starry, a wisp of electronic stardust in an ethereal blur. Then the harmonious, tag-team voice echoes come in:

“Is it much to admit I need
A solid soul and the blood I bleed
With a little girl, and by my spouse
I only want a proper house.”

Then, around the 2:12 mark, the beat starts in earnest, and all sorts of sounds and layers begin to express themselves, flowing together in mesmerizing concert until the 3:00 mark when the chorus comes in:

“I don’t mean to seem like I care about material things like a social status
I just want four walls and adobe slabs for my girls…”

At this point the song really takes off, and it’s hard to contain yourself. It’s a foot-stamping, head banging, body moving romp for the remaining 3 minutes, with whoops and hollers and bangs and beeps and an overwhelming sense of energy, joy and love.

It’s a song that captures the zeitgeist. It embodies the optimism and earnestness of this Obama moment – of an America in shambles and economic depression that nevertheless still strives for happiness and peace, with renewed vision and enlivened creativity. At a time when we’re paying the price for extravagance and careless home-buying, loan-lending and credit craziness, “My Girls” pares everything down and looks forward to a nostalgic but wholly modern vision of domestic life: “I just want four walls and adobe slabs for my girls”…

Buy this song. Buy the whole album. Hear the future of music, and be encouraged.

And watch the video below:

7 responses to “The First Great Song of the Obama Era

  1. Seriously. I’ve listened to this song about 8 or 9 times since yesterday. I was singing it to myself last night, and while walking to the bus this morning. Who thought a domestic pop song could be so addicting?

  2. Most of their music I like, but not necessarily enough to buy. That song I loved the first time I heard it.

  3. This is the best thing I have heard this year. The whole album is so good. Busting out “I don’t mean to seem like I care about material things line” in my car yesterday was so cathartic!

  4. It took me a while to actually read this post because I had a headache from staring at the dizzying graphic for too long.

    The song is equally as hypnotic but I don’t feel quite so dizzy after listening to it.

  5. I could not agree more with your assessment of this great track/band. It strangely does seem to capture the zeitgeist.

  6. Zeitgeist? Maybe. Prophetic. Yes. The song was written in 07.

  7. It took me a while to get into “Merriweather Post Pavilion,” but now I love Animal Collective!

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