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Beautiful Freak

Eels

1996

Buy At Rough Trade
Beautiful Freak
Album Summary

Beautiful Freak is the debut album by American rock band Eels. It was released on 13 August 1996 and is the first album released by record label DreamWorks.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.29

Votes

11716
Genres
Rock
Indie

Reviews

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Thu Jan 28 2021
4

This album suprised me. I almost didn't expect to like it given the god-awful album art, but I can't judge a book by it's cover. This album is musically rich and intriguing. Right off the bat I got flaming lips vibes, which is good because I love the flaming lips. The artsy-grunge type songs were great, but I wish there were more jazzy songs like "Susans House" with its spoken word sections and beautiful piano and bass instrumentation. Sometimes the lyrics were a bit edgy, but not in the cool "rage againts the machine" way, but in the cringy "middle school kid that was bullied for wearing an anime t-shirt" kind of way. The lyrics make me think of someone who heard Radiohead's "Creep" and was like "damn, I could make a whole album like this". These lyrics seem like they'd be memorized by Jared Leto's Joker. Even so, this album had some beautiful and freaky baroque-grung songs that really impressed me, especially in the last half of the album. I'll definitely be listening to it again. Favorite track: Guest List - although this is tied with "Mental", purely for the amazing synth solo at the end. - Least Favorite: Rags to Rags

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Sat Sep 18 2021
4

It's got the Shrek song on it, extra star.

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Mon Nov 09 2020
5

Eclectic alt-rock at it's finest. Thought provoking lyrics and surprising instrumentation. Each song, unique in their own right, blends together forming a flowing soundscape through the project. Stand-Outs: Susan's House (interestingly crafted piece; the sample from Gladys Knight works so well), My Beloved Monster, Flower (country vibes with angelic background vocals), Manchild.

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Tue Sep 21 2021
5

wow i really loved that maybe it’s just late and my heads a little fucky but that really felt like a magical experience listening to that such beautiful, unique, diverse compositions with every track like every time a song would be near the end I would get very excited wondering what fun surprise I would get next he often mixed together genres that shouldn’t work but HOLY SHIT do they work well i’ll give it a 9/10, it’s almost perfect, I have two minor complaints: firstly his vocals aren’t very diverse, I don’t hate his voice but I don’t necessarily love it, he regularly uses effects to spice it up and compensate for the lack of diversity but still i’d like a little more effort from his voice I guess and second isn’t really a flaw, more just preference but the rock genre isn’t really my favorite, it’s not bad but it’s not really something i like listening to normally still this is such a great album, i’m very glad I listened to this, such amazing song writing and surreal story telling with the lyrics, just awesome I’ll definitely be looking into more of Eels’ discography

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Thu Jan 28 2021
3

Probably the most modern-sounding album we've heard so far. I like the style, a bit jazzy, a bit indie rock. And the band is American, there's a change of pace! Altogether though, it isn't very engaging. Background music in a good way, but still background music for me. ALSO, I must note that there is a sound of children cheering on "Susan's House" that is 100% without a doubt the same sample used for the Grunt birthday party sound effect in Halo. Favorite tracks: Susan's House, Spunky, Manchild Album art: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH 3/5

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Thu Jul 08 2021
1

Nothing wrong with this record, it a decent indie offering but is it 1001 essential album list material -- most definitely not, I have heard albums that I hated on this list whose placement I can definitely justify but this is probably the first one for which I cant do that. 1/5

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Sat Dec 25 2021
5

I was too busy listening to Leonard Cohen in 1996 that I never gave this album a proper listen, but was excited to explore it. I came into the Eels late, being introduced through the song, "I like the way this is going" a few years ago and then digging into some of their older stuff (but not this album). I loved that song for it's tentative and nervous sweetness, a feeling that carries through so much of their work. I'm sure that "Beautiful Freak" was the song that I had always wanted a boy to sing to me in 1996. I love the juxtaposition of the sweet & gloomy moments with the angsty moments on this album. I love the grainy quality of the vocals on "Not Ready Yet." I haven't had such unprepared delight ever in a song as when the harmonicas came on in "Guest List." I think that this band stands out for its unique mix of grunge and emo that gives them a unique sense of vulnerability. Plus, I want a cat named Lolita with a violent past and their use of "mint chocolate chip ice cream" was brilliant. What a great listen.

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Mon Aug 16 2021
2

First listen to anything by Eels. I'm not sure that I liked this one. The lyrics are pained, but musically there is very little catharsis, and the vocal delivery is often overwrought in its expression of self-pity. It's a sad little wilting flower of an album, and on first pass it didn't do much for me. There were a few songs where it came together, namely the saccharine "My Beloved Monster," the withering "Manchild," and lone rocker "Mental."

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Sun Apr 30 2023
2

Eels (the animal) are a lot cooler than Eels (the band), and probably more musically talented.

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Sat Apr 17 2021
1

The album cover sums it up - wide eyed & legless. Not my kind of music

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Sat Jan 01 2022
5

Wow, never heard of this guys, but after a couple of listens, I'm hooked. Beautiful and quirky songwriting, I'm going to download and dive into the whole catalog!

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Sun Jul 23 2023
5

I'm a huge fan of Eels, but for some reason I'm not as familiar with this, their debut album, as I am the rest of their discography. Every one of Eels' next five albums after this is a 5/5 album. What's more, each has a distinct and different style and sound to the record that came before it. If I had paid Beautiful Freak more attention I would have realised that it is like a microcosm of the next five Eels albums all squeezed into one record: -The dark, bass-driven, 'Susans House' and 'Your Lucky Day in Hell' would fit well on 'Electro-Shock Blues'; -'My Beloved Monster' has a similar innocent sentiment to 'I Like Birds' and wouldn't be out of place on 'Daisies of the Galaxy'; -The musically diverse 'Novocaine For The Soul', 'Flower' and 'Mental' could be from the more experimental 'Souljacker'; -The lyrically and musically straightforward, but endlessly catchy, 'Rags to Rags' and 'Guest List' are reminiscent of 'Shootenanny'; and -The sadly personal and dreamlike 'Beautiful Freak' and 'Spunky' share some DNA with tracks from 'Blinking Lights and Other Revelations'. Despite the diversity in this record it flows beautifully and comes across as a single piece. It is excellent and a great introduction to a brilliant artist with an outstanding discography. Rating: 5/5 Playlist track: Novocaine For The Soul Date listened: 22/07/23

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Fri Oct 06 2023
4

His picture on spotify is of him playing chess against himself, which made me spiral into a homicidal rage. Pretty good music though. 4 stars.

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Mon Dec 11 2023
3

It’s a nice by the numbers indie rock album. Good lyrics, good instrumentation. Nothing really mind blowing. Just a solid bag of songs. Lyrics specially are great - relatable and sad, about loneliness, depression, not fitting in etc. also has a nice winter feel to it. It’s a strong 3 for me.

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Fri Dec 15 2023
3

C'était du Radiohead en extrêmement flingué, un grand bravo à Eels pour cette performance absolument passable.

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Thu Dec 21 2023
3

First track Novocaine for the soul took me straight back to the mid 90s. the rest of the album would benefit from a few more listens as it rather washed over me

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Thu Dec 21 2023
3

Was excited to hear this again as I played it a lot when it was out. It now feels of it’s time, possibly as I’m no longer an angst ridden 28 year old in a bad marriage. Standout track was and still is Flower.

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Tue Jan 02 2024
3

I had a few of friends who liked Eels back in the in 90’s, but it never really worked for me. Listening now, it kind of reminds me of Beck, which I didn’t pick up on back then, but it still doesn’t really work for me. An indifferent 3 stars.

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Mon Dec 25 2023
2

Not a bad album but not a top 1001 album. If you want to listen to an average indie album just pick one at random.

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Thu Feb 01 2024
2

I wouldn’t have liked this album back in the 1990s either. Too much manly angst.

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Mon Mar 29 2021
5

This was an absolutely beautiful album! First time listening, but it’s gonna be my go-to-album this whole weekend

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Fri Apr 30 2021
5

Great, unique style. I had not heard this album fully, and it is great

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Fri May 21 2021
5

I love this album, the lyrics, the music, the Gladys knight sample on 'susan's house', the distorted riff on 'not ready yet', all of it

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Mon Jun 07 2021
5

First time listening to an Eels album front to back. I liked it a lot! Great flow, great overall production. Thumbs up!

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Tue Jul 20 2021
5

I love this album. Beautiful melodies and lyrics to match.

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Sun Aug 01 2021
5

Unusual and beautiful. Plenty more albums to discover.

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Tue Sep 14 2021
5

Если вы думаете, что ни разу не слышали эту группу, то вы ошибаетесь: их песни звучали в первых трех частях Шрека. Но ни в этом их главная заслуга. Уже на данном дебюте 1996-го года Eels показали как должен звучать альтернативный рок. Песни разнообразны и держат ваше внимание на протяжении всего альбома. Звучание опередило свое время и при слепом прослушивании будет сложно понять в каком году выпущен альбом. Рекомендую всем поклонникам The Smashing Pumpkins и The Flaming Lips

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Tue Oct 05 2021
5

smart, artsy, and enjoyable back to front.

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Thu Oct 07 2021
5

Not listened to this in years. Still as haunting, melancholy, and beautiful as it ever was.

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Wed Nov 24 2021
5

Muy indie noventero. Además, como me gusta bastante la portada, le pongo un 5.

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Thu Dec 02 2021
5

Great album. I listened to it multiple times that day.

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Mon Dec 13 2021
5

Eels are a band I often forget about and then I remember them and I say "how come this isn't my favorite band?" I like Hombre Lobo and End Times both more than this, but this is still such a GREAT album.

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Sat Dec 25 2021
5

I have liked eels since Novocaine for the Soul - I had the single on cassette. I love the off kilter ness, the humour and the depths of misery it plumbs, without ever being po faced. And they're all singable pop songs too. Their first 3 or 4 albums are all essential imho.

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Tue Jan 18 2022
5

Love this album. Great at the time and still sounds great.

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Sat Jan 29 2022
5

Classic Eels here, with the lovely "Novocaine For The Soul." opening. So reminiscent of REM (No Pun Intended) this is a delightful, funny, scary and intriguing album. I want it on Vinyl Now! Highlights "Susans House" which is Velvety if you know what I mean. "Rags to Rags" another glorious eant from E himself. Love it all, rightfully in this list for all the right reasons!

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Fri Feb 04 2022
5

A+ stand out tracks: -Novocaine For The Soul -Susan's House -Beautiful Freak -Mental -Spunky (one of my favorite, lyrically) -Manchild (loved the instrumentals)

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Mon Feb 28 2022
5

Este disco me costó conseguirlo. Sonaba mucho en Radio3 pero en las tiendas habituales no lo tenían. Un disco que desde el principio enamora y suena diferente. Años después leyendo el libro de Mr. E le cogí aún más cariño al este trabajo. Libro por cierto 100% recomendable: "Cosas que los nietos deberían saber" de Oliver Everett, Mark. ► Imprescindibles: "Novocaine for the Soul", "Susan's House", "Rags to Rags", "Beautiful Freak", "My Beloved Monster", "Flower", "Guest List" y para terminar "Your Lucky Day in Hell".

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Mon Mar 14 2022
5

It is really important to kick off an album strongly, and Beautiful Freak understands this very well. From the very first second I am totally hooked! This is exactly what I expect from a pop record: quirky, versatile, surprising, filled with twists and turns, off-kilter. I had heard the following album to this one and the first thing that came to my mind was Beck; but when was that a bad thing? Also, I am reading that Mark Oliver Everett (the brain behind Eels) is from Virginia, USA, while I was convinced that he/they were British. They somehow sound British though, think of bands like Super Furry Animals or Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. No surprise then that opening track Novocaine For The Soul was a hit in UK).  Track 2 features an upright bass while Mr E walks us over Susan's House all while taking a heartbreaking polaroid of a cruel, everyday suburban reality (There's a crazy old woman smashing bottles on the side walk/where her house burnt two years ago/people says that back then she really wasn't that crazy... Here comes a girl with long brown hair who can't be more than 17/she sucks on a red popsicle while she pushes a baby girl in a pink carriage/and I'm thinking that must be her sister, right?).  Yup. I too have seen things while going over to Susan's house.  The title track brings together Beach Boys arrangements, accordions, a spooky piano coda, and a lament about loving people when they are "different".  My Beloved Monster instead is about that (beautiful) freak we all carry inside, begins with a banjo, that is soon left aside and adds some noisy flourishes.  Flower is a nice update on American folk with a processed choir that points out at how we get slapped since day one and so on forever and ever.  I really don't know weather someone else has ever sung the words "this could be your lucky day in hell" over such moving, lush melodies, and then go back to some distorted parts with such nonchalant elegance, but it works brilliantly.  I wish I had more than 24 hours to spend with this album and write more about it, but I guess that is part of the challenge. Without any doubt, another essential that I surely need to add to my collection. On to the next one, but, hey, Beautiful Freak, see you soon, I hope. 

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Thu Mar 24 2022
5

Löytyy tämäkin hyllystä. Ehdottomasti 5*

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Sun Apr 17 2022
5

Tuttu bändi aikojen takaa. Beatiful Freak ei itselleni koskaan ollut se läheisin tai tärkein Eels-levy, jota ihmettelenkin suuresti nyt jälkikäteen. Tämä levy nimittäin on juuri sitä rauhallista Eelsiä jota olen aina arvostanut. Mark Oliver Everettin kitarointi on soundiltaan jumalaista. Levyltä ei löydy suuria huteja. Hittejä sen sijaan enemmänkin. 4,5 joka nousee ylöspäin.

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Wed May 18 2022
5

I enjoyed this so much, I listened to it again immediately after my first play. Lyrically & melodically unique and adventurous. Totally enjoyed it, and have added this and two additional Eels albums (so far).

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Mon Jun 13 2022
5

What a cracking album. Not a bad track on it.

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Wed Jun 29 2022
5

Great album. Wonderful production. The opener is a (25 year old) modern classic.

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Wed Aug 10 2022
5

One of the more interesting alternative albums. I was very impressed with the musicality. Especially with the drums. Great listen

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Mon Aug 29 2022
5

Unique, funky and grungy and emo. Loved all but a couple tracks!

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Tue Aug 30 2022
5

In 1996 I heard Novocaine For The Soul and hurried that afternoon to my local record store to listen, and buy, the album. The album with its weird cover, parental advisory sticker and emotional, quirky indie-rock music became one of my most loved albums of that year. And it has not lost any of its power over the years. The clever lyrics, the many beautiful tributes to his mentally ill sister, the wide array of techniques, samples, instrumentation and inspired production makes 'Beautiful Freak' one of the most interesting, and at times haunting, debut albums I've heard in my life. The songs go between samply dreamy to guitar grungy and the tracklist makes it you're never bored by alternating between styles throughout. And to think that this the prelude to Electro-Shock Blues, which might be even a better album.

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Wed Sep 07 2022
5

This album to represents the 90’s perfectly.

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Fri Oct 07 2022
5

4.5/5 pretty fucking goooooooooood

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Thu Oct 20 2022
5

It’s the Eels so of course I love it

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Tue Nov 01 2022
5

TBz 1. Novocaine For The Soul 2. Your Lucky Day In Hell 3. Guest List 4. Not Ready Yet 5. Mental I can keep going with top bangerz. I immediately connected with this album. It’s beautiful, dark at times, and deep. Solid 5!

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Tue Nov 08 2022
5

очень очень хорошо!!! есть немного/много от нирваны, но в более чилловом режиме и еще реденько, местами марс вольта теперь один из любимых

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Wed Nov 16 2022
5

Love this album, I used to listen to it a lot when I first got my car. I have great memories of it, but I'm drawing a blank at some of the titles on the second half. Looking forward to giving it another listen! Listening back to this, it's about as flawless as I remember. Love "Novocaine For the Soul", the piano and hip hop influences on "Susan's House", and the weird bee-guitar solo on "My Beloved Monster". Very weird and innovative, and that's just the big singles! Of the titles I didn't recognize, I knew them all and remembered most of the lyrics even. I love the melancholy and the weird humor on these tracks. Great bassline on "Your Lucky Day in Hell" too.

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Thu Nov 24 2022
5

I went into this one cold. I may have heard something from it before, but I don’t think so. Really appreciated what felt like experimentation and creativity with restraint — every song had a spine of some sort. A hook/refrain/chorus that you were excited for it to get back to. Felt like someone with a degree in musical theory, but I say that as someone with nothing close to a degree in musical theory.m Also enjoyed that the lyrics had something to say, the use of spoken word, degree to which a lot of it seemed to be a subversion of something that initially seemed positive, etc.

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Thu Dec 08 2022
5

Incredible album. I had heard novocaine in the 90s and liked it, but never bought the album. I wish I had. The whole thing comes together in thoughtful and unusual ways. Great songs and song variety.

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Wed Dec 21 2022
5

Was my fourth or fifth favourite Eels album... but better than I remember it being

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Sat Jan 07 2023
5

This ticks all of my alternative boxes. Mr Es autobiography is particularly good too.

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Wed Feb 08 2023
5

Amazing album, I can't believe I didn't know this band existed, especially since I recognized one of the songs from Shrek! Best tracks: Novocaine For the Soul, Susan's House, Guest List, Spunky, and Manchild.

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Thu Feb 16 2023
5

If you like this, I’d recommend A Man Called (E) and Broken Toy Shop by E. Broken Toy Shop is definitely the precursor to Beautiful Freak.

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Thu Feb 23 2023
5

Depressed people make beautiful music. My favorite Eels album.

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Sat Mar 04 2023
5

Awww, YISS! I remember buying this album. I would have been 16 years old, and this would have been the first album I ever bought on CD. I loved it. I listened to it a couple of weeks back, actually, inspired by another album in the 1,001 - and am very pleased to see it come up in its own right. This album is great. I'm not speaking from a history of nostalgic whatever - there are some supberb lyrics here "Looking out with an ugly face, Winston Churchill in drag"

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Wed Mar 08 2023
5

Another great 90s album. I especially liked Susan's House but lots of good selections and it all followed a theme

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Wed Apr 26 2023
5

Absolutely the perfect mix of melancholic depression and 1998.

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Sat May 20 2023
5

Novacaine for the soul: a little weird, but that hasn't hurt anybody! I'm still enjoying it :D I like this! It's weird, it's vibey, it's dynamic, it's good. between 4 and 5 stars. My Beloved Monster would have been a good song to end the album on. Flowers- Interesting use of instruments, with angel choirs, beach guitars, and synths XD I thought there were a lot of good songs in this album, a lot of dynamic and interesting things going on. It maybe could have leaned a little bit more on the "weird" aspect of it, or maybe have made it a little heavier, but otherwise I liked it! 5/5

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Wed May 24 2023
5

Wasn't expecting to like this so much. Not sure why it resonated with me so much, but I loved it. Great songwriting and overall sound.

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Fri Jun 09 2023
5

Kind of grew up with this, because my sister loved this album, but it still surprised me that it came out in 1996. That's a full five years before Shrek! How early in production do you think they started on the My Beloved Monster scene?

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Thu Jun 22 2023
5

Very 90’s. Grungy folkish if I had to categorize.

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Fri Jun 23 2023
5

Melodically brilliant with engaging lyrics

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Fri Jun 23 2023
5

Very good. Not quite as good or as catchy as Daisies of the Galaxy but just enough to sneak into 5* territory.

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Fri Jun 23 2023
5

Enjoyed it way more than i remembered

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Sat Jul 29 2023
5

4.5, rounded up. Kinda dull in a few spots, but overall good 90s indie/alt, I like the genre so it was nice to learn about another band. The lyrics have good prose. Guest List is so good. BT - Susan's House - Not Ready Yet - Guest List - Your Lucky Day In Hell - Manchild

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Sat Aug 05 2023
5

Maybe I will come back to this record and think it's too dramatic. But on first listen, it is a perfect mix of miserable with some beacons of hope. The lyrics describe feelings and situations so well - it's like Impressionism, but with music. The overall sound isn't anything super innovative, but it complements the themes of the songs well and is varied enough not to be boring.

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Tue Aug 22 2023
5

Had never heard of this band and was really enjoying it, then recognized the song from Shrek. Very much my vibes, ended up working to more eels and then a Spotify radio based off the album.

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Tue Sep 05 2023
5

Don't know how the hell that happened, but i've always been a big fan of their singles, still haven't heard any lp front to back. And i can tell this one is a real gem.

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Tue Sep 12 2023
5

I had never heard of this artist or this album before; what a treat! It’s a great album, with wonderful songwriting. Some songs reminded me of other artists I enjoyed (“Mental” in particular struck me as a sensible version of a Manic Street Preachers song). Fav songs: Novocaine for the Soul, Susan’s House, My Beloved Monster, Mental, Manchild

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Sun Sep 17 2023
5

Beautiful. Dark. Wonderful. Now go check the book to know more about the lyrics.

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Mon Sep 18 2023
5

I thought about it but I'm gonna give this a 5. I know this album but have not returned to it in a very long time. This is engaging, melancholy, poppy, and complex. The band lost me through it's next...I dunno, 12 releases, but I was shocked and pleased to find this on the list, then again shocked and pleased at how much of the album I remembered and held up. It's so weird this ended up being the "Shrek" band too. It can be incredibly dark.

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Wed Oct 04 2023
5

I find albums hard to listen to because I get bored of listening to the same artist. But this was tolerable. I listened to this album while grocery shopping. I enjoyed the eclectic mix of textures explored across the album. Definitely got Beatles influence for sure. Whacky af

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Sat Oct 07 2023
5

I love the Eels. This is a great representative album of the 90s.

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Mon Oct 09 2023
5

What an album! I'd forgotten this existed. I think I had it on cassette or iTunes, or something... Great lyrics, great riffs. So bleak and twisted.

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Tue Oct 10 2023
5

Brilliant. Interesting and moving.

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Fri Oct 13 2023
5

Eels from the USA Genre: Alternative Rock 1996 2nd Listen: 3 Standouts: Susan's House, Novocaine for the Soul, Beautiful Freak, Spunky, Your Lucky Day in Hell Others: Rags to Rags, Not Ready Yet, My Beloved Monster, Flower, Mental, Manchild Rating: 4.5/5

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