Unearthed: Animal Collective— Centipede Hz
Posted in Unearthed
SAY IT AIN'T SO
Animal Collective has been my favorite project since 2007. In fact, I was introduced to the whole indie world with Animal Collective at the foreground. I had never really heard anything parallel in interest and inventiveness. That was a long time ago, however, and life has passed me by, but Animal Collective has always stuck with me, despite a multitude of life changes.
With every release, they gutted the music scene of the time. I mean, honestly, think about the records they've put out. Did you hear anything in the respective years that would have even rivaled the quirkiness of Strawberry Jam? Sung Tongs? Feels? Water Curses? Every release was transformative, a bright spot on an otherwise complacent tapestry.
This is the basis for how I evaluate Animal Collective. They inject a much needed dose of 'let's fuck things up' into the music scene when it has gone stale. They're what I think is responsible for the past progress of indie music.
So where does that leave us with Centipede Hz? Merriweather Post Pavilion was ultimately a beautiful and aggrandized work that fused the best of Animal Collective's past with the necessities of modern pop. It showed a conscious decision on their part to move in a totally different direction than their older works. Don't get me wrong, I played the living shit out of the record, but it felt like the beginning of the end. Fall Be Kind was a quick blip of brilliance that broke the downhill spiral, and the two tracks that came out a few months ago were very impressive to say the least. They gave me hope for something I thought was already dead.
Centipede Hz is disappointing. At best, there are maybe two songs that resonate with me and will continue to do so. This is a troubling sign that Animal Collective's sound is over. I don't want them to die, but I think everyone has outgrown them. But that's one of the very curious aspects of Animal Collective's music. Most people hate their stuff upon the first few listens. I mean, I know I do. My first reaction to everything they've done has been almost always something negative. Weeks later, though, I somehow find love for the product when I at first thought there was a desert. But herein lies my biggest problem with Centipede Hz... almost nothing is memorable even after multiple listens. Centipede Hz just isn't as groundbreaking as their other records were in the times in which they were released. That's a clear sign of aging, and there's very little chance of reversal.
I love Animal Collective. In their prime, they are timeless, creating the most unique of sounds and combining them with atypical song structure and asymmetrical rhythms. This was a potent combination that made people come back for more. Their songs were catchy, not only because of the melodies, but also because people had never heard anything remotely like it. It ensured the public's undying interest. It made believers out of skeptics, and lovers out of the indifferent. But Centipede Hz is old news. Their music style is over and people have moved past them. Of course, as I mentioned before, there are still a few moments of brilliance in Centipede Hz where I think to myself, "Now this is why I will always believe" - I will continuously swear by them and will never be dissuaded that they are not the most inventive group in existence - but we have to accept that there are better and more interesting things being done in music momentarily. Producers are experimenting in ways that didn't exist when Animal Collective was in their prime. And this presents the most challenging obstacle to the beloved group. They're playing the role of the 45-year-old father trying to be cool at a college party now. I'm deeply sorry, but nobody wants you here. Get the fuck out unless you can evolve.
Stream Animal Collective's new album Centipede Hz now right here