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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

Neutral Milk Hotel

1998

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Album Summary

This album has been submitted by a user and is not included in any edition of the book.

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is the second and final studio album by American band Neutral Milk Hotel, released on February 10, 1998, by Merge Records. The album is predominantly indie rock and psychedelic folk and is characterized by an intentionally low-quality sound. Traditional indie rock instruments like the guitar and drums are paired with less conventional instruments like the singing saw and uilleann pipes. The lyrics are surrealistic and opaque, with themes ranging from nostalgia to love. An important influence for the album was The Diary of a Young Girl, a book of writings from the diary of Anne Frank. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was recorded at Pet Sounds Studio from July to September 1997. Producer Robert Schneider worked with bandleader Jeff Mangum to improve upon the low-quality sound of Neutral Milk Hotel's debut album, On Avery Island. Instead of using standard studio equipment like guitar pedals or effects units to induce distortion, Schneider developed a recording technique that involved heavy compression. To promote the album, Neutral Milk Hotel undertook a tour of North America and Europe, and developed a reputation for chaotic and physically demanding performances. Contemporary reviews were moderately positive; over time, however, the album developed a cult following. This negatively affected Mangum, whose mental health began to deteriorate; as a result, he withdrew from touring, and Neutral Milk Hotel went on hiatus shortly after. In the years since its release, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea has been described by music journalists as both a landmark album for indie rock and as one of the best albums of the 1990s and its critical standing has risen considerably.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.54

Votes

76

Genres

  • Rock
  • Indie

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Reviews

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Mon Dec 04 2023
5

This definitely should have been in the book.

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Sun Jan 21 2024
5

Another one where it is the height of insanity that this is NOT in any edition of the actual 1,001. This little bonus project has been a lot of fun for me because I spent 1,089 days bitching about most of the albums being forgettable Gen X bullshit, and then I've spent the last 2 weeks being like, "Yes, obvious masterpiece" and then I read the other reviews and see people complaining that it's forgettable Millennial bullshit. I guess we're all just a product of what we listened to when we turned 14.

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Sun Jan 21 2024
5

Everyone’s first album in America sophomore year of college where we think we’ve started listening to really cool music for the first time

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Thu Feb 01 2024
5

Brian Eno said every person who bought a copy of "The Velvet Underground & Nico" started a band; in a similar fashion, every sad boy in college who heard "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" wanted to pick up a guitar and start an indie band. This one was everyone's darling in my college years around the hipsters and kids with a music taste to prove. Interesting that it is viewed as a heavily distorted album, cause I didn't really feel that. It's warm for sure due to compression and equipment, but that is a different type of distortion to me. There's also the internet music committee bit here. This was a special time on the early-web where almost anything could take off much easier than today if you put yourself out there, and I think a lot of the cult of personality came from that group. Overall though, it definitely holds up. Still a fan. Definitely should have been on the list.

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Thu Feb 01 2024
5

Had an ex girlfriend who got me into this way back when. It was a big part of our romance in those days. Even though that relationship soured horribly, those memories don't tarnish the power of this music. It's such a beautiful contradiction: lo-fi but ornate with arrangements, cryptic but heartfelt. A cult classic that undoubtedly deserves its place on the list.

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Wed Jan 24 2024
2

This album gets rave reviews from everyone so over the years I think I must have tried to listen to it at least a dozen times. I love lo-fi indie music, heck its one of my favourite genres, but for some reason I just can't get into this album, in particular I really find the lead vocalist's voice to be annoying AF. I'll file this under "What am I missing?"

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Fri Feb 09 2024
5

Essential to Aeroplane are its asymmetries: The strange loading of the instrumentals; The too-late shift away from indie-punk-scream; The too-familiar instruments devoid of joy. It's all totally necessary for the project, which in fact flows seamlessly, not even broken by the early invocation of Jesus Christ. The album's devastating. It also manages to be a positive blueprint, impossible to copy except maybe with exquisite care.

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Fri Mar 01 2024
5

If you like any modern indie, chances are you can thank these guys for their influence. Definitely a snub on the original list.

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Fri Mar 01 2024
5

It really is as good as nerds on the internet say (says fellow nerd on the internet).

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Fri Mar 15 2024
5

One of my favorite albums ever, A+

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Fri Nov 10 2023
4

Of course. Getting lit to Jeff Mangum. Fetishize Anne Frank. Rip a real one.

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Sun Jan 07 2024
4

In the post folk lo-fi kind of world this is minor royalty and I own it and like it a lot. I can see where some will find it pretty intolerable, and I've slammed entries in different genres for similar issues - the affected singing style and baroque and cryptic lyrics. But it works for me.

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Wed Jan 10 2024
4

Solid album all the way through. Thanks for suggesting.

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Tue Mar 05 2024
4

I've listened to this before and found it really interesting. Didn't know anything about the band though, and the fact that they only released two albums. Good stuff, reminds me a bit of the Decemberists. 4 stars.

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Tue Mar 05 2024
4

Surprise is never top far away on this album. I constantly wonderen: "What's the next song going to sound like?". Very varied and fun album

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Wed Mar 13 2024
4

7/10. Damn, this guy loves singing about semen. One of those albums that does a lot of cool stuff, but the end-product just isn't something I'm that into.

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Tue Mar 26 2024
4

One of the immortal classics of the 90s. In all honesty, it never struck me as the masterpiece it's supposedly claimed to be. But there's no denying it's a record overflowing with creativity, boasting intricate arrangements and an originality that's hard to come by. The whole aesthetic surrounding it just cements its unique form. It should have been in the original list. I am surprised it is not

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Tue Apr 09 2024
4

This LP has become such a staple in the indie scene that I don't know if I can offer any new or novel takes, only my appreciation for the odd little world Jeff Mangum has constructed on this record. It took years for me to hear this album in full and piece together the at-first abstruse thematic elements, and even today I feel there are nooks and crannies here I'm not fully appreciating. Each time I return there's a new detail to uncover or a motif to recognize across the impressively varied (but damn good) instrumentation or songwriting, and each time I leave feeling there's still an idea or easter egg left on the table. Can't say I'm terribly familiar with the rest of Hotel's discography, but knowing the expansive run of Mangum's musical output, I'm thankful that such a densely packed album manages to convey the expressiveness and ideation that defines both his solo and Elephant 6 works without collapsing in on itself. Excellent addition to this list, and yes, an absolute crime it wasn't included to begin with.

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Sat Mar 09 2024
3

Should be an easy 5 stars from me, as this is one of the main genres I get my kicks from. But somehow, despite so many rave reviews, this band never appealed to me that much. I usually like a-typical vocals, but here it somehow doesn't resonate. (or maybe it resonates too much?)

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Sat Nov 11 2023
2

This might be fantastic in its own way but I'm just not an indie folk guy. It always gives me vibes of uni students who think this sort of music taste will mark them as "mysterious and artsy but fun", when really they just don't cut their toenails and any girls that are actually impressed by it also have questionable hygiene. 2/5.

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Sun Feb 11 2024
2

Interesting sound but not my thing

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Wed Mar 06 2024
2

This is pop. My daughter listened to it in the 2000s. Folky

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Sat Mar 09 2024
2

Some indie bands I really like, some bands I just like and some bands which I dislike. I can't really explain why, but it just wasn't going anywhere for me

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Sat Mar 02 2024
1

sound like Pirluit of Smurfs

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Fri May 10 2024
1

An awful whiny album. No need to be added to the list or for it to really be made.

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