Neutral Milk Hotel Reunion Tour


One of Neutral Milk Hotel’s most popular albums is “In The Aeroplane Over the Sea “. The album was inspired in part, by lead singer Jeff Mangum’s experience after reading the Diary of Anne Frank.

Their obscure lyrics and whimsical instrumentation leave listeners confused yet interested for more. Mostly unknown or un-heard of, Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea holds a place as a pinnacle album of the late 90’s.

It didn’t become hugely recognized until 2008; the album was the sixth-best-selling vinyl album. Sadly, in 1999, the band discontinued making any new albums due to Jeff Mangum’s growing disillusionment with the world around him, so the band broke up. And now, this is their first time playing together in 15 years.

Their most famous album, In The Aeroplane Over the Sea, received great reviews from most rating sites, such as a perfect 10/10 from Pitchfork. The album is known for its depressing, pessimistic views about life and Jeff Mangum’s wonderfully weird vocals, which circles around Jeff Mangum’s nightmares from reading “The Diary of Anne Frank”, making the album into something meaningful and viciously personal.

“They have really complex compositions, well-thought out song structures, and interesting instruments which make the music better each time you listen to it,” senior Brock Stuessi said. “Especially the horn sections, they get me every time.”

The album itself is an experience. It starts off with the “King of Carrot Flowers”, captivating the audience with a bleak, folky sense following the vicious circles of life, which explodes into the rush of part 2 & 3. The title song slows down with a melody mostly focused on the acoustic and Jeff Mangum’s voice.

Again, “Two-headed boy pt.1” emphasizes the acoustics while the lyrics are so abstract; it is scary not knowing what he could mean. It is followed by the non-lyrical song, “The Fool,” showcasing their marching-band abilities, which captures the grace and majesty of horns.

Almost instantly, “Holland” 1945 breaks the silence into a harder-hitting lo-fi rock and depressing, surreal lyrics. “Communist Daughter” brings the audience to a calm halt, which leads into the lyrically beautiful, but frightening “Oh Comely”. Mangum uses abnormal, strange lyrics and the pitch of his voice to make the whole song a spectacle to listen to.

“Ghost” picks up the pace again, slowly but skillfully. Then, it goes into “Untitled,” which highlights the beauty of the bagpipes and makes it sound surprisingly happy and up-beat. The album ends with the acoustic “Two-headed boy pt.2”; it slows the listener down, and gives time to reflect on the album.

“I really like the band because the singer is not shallow; he doesn’t fake his voice or make it nasally,” junior Sarah Sheets said. “Also they have a rugged sound that is still calming. If they are coming out anywhere near San Diego, I am definitely going to go see them. They are fantastic.”