Sunday, August 30, 2009

2004 : 13 "College" by Animal Collective

Sung Tongs is the album I think of as Animal Collective's "breakthrough record"—the first of their studio albums that lived up to the energy and promise of their live shows. As such, there are a lot of tracks worth writing about ("Leaf House" and "Who Could Win A Rabbit" are both exemplary) but when it came time to sit down and write, I immediately knew I wanted to pick this tiny incidental bit, less than a minute in length. Its emphasis on vocal harmonies and odd sonic textures make it instantly plain why some consider Animal Collective to be the "Beach Boys of the Aughts," but my fondness comes less from the way the song affirms some party line and more from its lyrical content. That's pretty funny, since the song only has one line, but when I hear it I never fail to imagine some high school kid not that different from myself at age 17—let's say sensitive, troubled, introspective and overwhelmed. I imagine him hearing the seven words this track has to offer, ideally through a haze of epiphany-making THC, and having his life suddenly change direction. I imagine that one day he will remember hearing this song as the exact moment at which everything began to get better.

Jeremy Bushnell

Listen: Animal Collective >> "College"

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