Eels: Wonderful, Glorious
Since 1992, Eels‘ released eleven albums (including a solo project), and now finally their twelfth album in 2013. That’s quite a track record. If you’re unfamiliar-–no wait, you’re definitely familiar. Eels has had their music featured in several films (including but not limited to Shrek, Yes Man, and Hot Fuzz). They’ve got one hell of an impressive resume. A band like this is capable of big things. That means their latest album, Wonderful, Glorious, ought to be… well wonderful and glorious, right?
No band is perfect. To be blunt, Wonderful, Glorious is forgettable. First and foremost, there’s this uncanny feeling that you’ve heard it all before –a sense of Deja vu. It all sounds pretty generic and maybe that’s because it doesn’t really do anything innovative. Maybe Hollywood has taken it’s toll too. The album sounds kind of like movie music. You can literally imagine a scene to go with each song but that’s just the problem; there’s no scene to be had. It’s like a sandwich with no meat or cheese. You’re missing out on the good stuff. Maybe Eels’ musical appearance in so many films is directly related to their style; but just because it works well for movies doesn’t mean it’s enjoyable to sit down and listen to.
For the last chunk of bashing to be had, let’s focus on the seeming lack of sincerity. The album is lyrically heavy. So much so that it seems the music itself often revolves around what’s being sung. When a person says a word enough times, it sort of loses it’s meaning. So when frontman E continuously bludgeons his listeners with his thoughts and feelings about anything, you kind of begin to wonder how honest he’s being. It’s rotten to say, but the lyrics seem like a gimmick.
Good news everybody! When you break away from the emotional overload and learn to accept that this isn’t anything mind-blowing, the music isn’t too bad. What’s really funny is that most bands tend to kill their album with what seems to be something lazily made but not Eels, they put their time into it. The music itself can be described as some groovy rock-blues jams. It’s still definitely not for everyone though.
Wonderful, Glorious is a case of the not so good, the bad, and the ugly. A short essay could be written on each song, tearing it apart and it would all sound redundant in the end. It doesn’t really break any new ground. The album is kind of boring, nothing really grabs your attention. The replay value isn’t even there. Eels has a ton of experience. So, why is their newest album so disagreeable? The album is just lacking in a “wow” factor. Wonderful, Glorious is that kid who tries way too hard to be way cool. To end things on an optimistic note, Eels is good at what they do. If you’re a new listener, don’t let this album reflect their overall ability. If you’re an old fan, hopefully you’ll find a reason (that I couldn’t) to love this album.
MP3: Eels “Peach Blossoms”
Buy: iTunes or Insound! vinyl