I was first introduced to Neutral Milk Hotel around 1999 in the public library, where its old timey circus-referencing album cover grabbed my attention. Checked it out - FOR FREE, WHICH IS WHAT YOU DO WHEN YOU HAVE A SPECIAL VIP CARD AT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY - gave it a listen, and was underwhelmed. Blasé, droning vocals, folksy psychedelic fuzz that seemed dull.

But somehow, it kept magically playing in the background as I drove, and worked, and studied, and I suddenly realised:

Whoa...I really, really dig this album.

Every single track is a tiny treasure, with a breezy, fuzzed-out charm that pulls off the trick of being both A) very concrete and understandable and very ambiguous and cryptic, with vague possible references to Anne Frank woven throughout.

At its heart, whether you are paying attention to lyrics or not, is an incredibly catchy fuzz-pop treasure chest of MUSIC that is a fabulous listen time after time...and it keeps getting better the more you spend time with it.

"What a beautiful face /
I have found in this place /
That is circling all 'round the sun /
What a beautiful dream that could flash on the screen"

My initial dismissal of Neutral Milk Hotel as uninteresting and vapid has been a reference point for me ever since with PEOPLE, and how some of my good friends and many interesting relationships have developed with people I didn't necessarily click with immediately, but discovered over time how massively interesting and unique they are.

There's a place for fleeting, Top 40 friendships that are immediately gratifying but have a point where it's time to move on. Those are fun in little doses.

And there should certainly be a place everyone has for Neutral Milk Hotel relationships, where every interaction keeps uncovering more layers of interest and magic.

So stick on some good tunes today, vote YES anytime a library bond comes up, and remember how many interesting friendships you'll have the opportunity to start this week.

Hoppy Sunday, all :)

Neutral Milk Hotel
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

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