Neutral Milk Hotel's: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea - Album Review

Neutral Milk Hotel's: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea - Album Review

My thoughts on what might be one of the greatest albums of all time.
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This album is without a doubt one of the most beautiful, haunting, interesting pieces of music I have ever listened to. Released on February 10th, 1998, by the band Neutral Milk Hotel, this album has existed for nearly two decades, yet its influence is still present and its raw power and beauty never seems to fade. From the opening guitar chords of King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1 to the final soft, gentle hums of Two Headed Boy Pt. 2, this album is something like a story. A non-linear story about Anne Frank, WWII, mortality, and sexuality. And it is an intense journey to go on.

Anne Frank was a huge influence on the creation of this album. Neutral Milk Hotel's lead singer, Jeff Mangum, was known for being almost obsessed with Anne Frank's story, and this is made quite apparent throughout the album. On the song “Holland, 1945” Mangum sings “The only girl I've ever loved / Was born with roses in her eyes / But then they buried her alive / One evening, 1945.” He goes on to sing about how she was buried with her sisters at her side and how her father had survived and found her diary after the war. He also alludes to the idea that Anne was reincarnated as “...a little boy in Spain / playing pianos filled with flames” which could be a metaphor for the way her story has lived on beyond her life, with her diary being the piano and the story of the pain she felt during WWII and then her eventually death being the flames.

He mentions Anne again in the song “Oh Comely” which is a slow, acoustic song with a lot of vivid sexual imagery. “And pluck all your silly string, bend all your notes for me / Soft silly music is meaningful, magical / The movements were beautiful, all in your ovaries.” And lines like this are all over this song, describing the beauty and the crudeness of sexuality. And again he references Anne Frank, further showing his admiration and the role she plays in the album. “And I know they buried her body with others / Her sister and mother and five-hundred families / And will she remember me fifty years later? / I wished I could save her in some sort of time machine.” It kills him that he can't help her and that she didn't get to live her whole life out, exploring all the facets of life that we all get to experience, should we be lucky enough to live that long.

The three best parts of this album, in my opinion, come in three different songs; “In the Aeroplane Over The Sea,” “Two Headed Boy Pt. 1,” and “Two Headed Boy Pt. 2.” The chord progression in “Aeroplane” is mesmerizing, as is the singing saw that wobbles throughout the track, materializing the imagery presented in the lines “Anna's ghost all around / Hear her voice as it's rolling and ringing through me / Soft and sweet / How the notes all bend and reach above the trees.” The lyrics are incredible and poignant throughout this entire track, my personal favorites being “What a beautiful face / I have found in this place / That is circling all 'round the sun” and “Can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all.” It's difficult to put into words the kind of emotions you feel when Mangum sings these lyrics with such carefreeness that the possibly scary ideas he contemplates in this song sound almost magical and comforting. When he says “And one day we will die / And our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea” you're unafraid. You can embrace the thought that one day you will be gone and the memories you leave behind will be but ashes in the sea.

“Two Headed Boy Pt.1” and “Pt. 2” continue this beautiful imagery and lyricism. Pt. 1 describes a boy trapped inside of a jar who is in love with Anne Frank, trying to build her a radio “just for two” so he can convey his love to her through music. The Two Headed Boy says “And in the dark we will take off our clothes / And they'll be placing fingers through the notches in your spine” at first sounding like they are going to get intimate with each other, until it is interrupted by something foul, possibly referring to the Nazi's finding Anne and taking her away. Pt. 2 describes the Two Headed Boy again, this time having to let go of Anne because he knows he cannot escape his jar and must let her move on with her life. Mangum sings “And when we break we'll wait for a miracle / God is a place where some holy spectacle lies / When we break we'll wait for a miracle / God is a place you will wait for the rest of your life.” This line gives two possible meanings, one being that death is desirable and that when one of them dies the other will wait for them and eventually reunited. The other possible meaning, of course, is that God doesn't exist and waiting for the rest of your life means to waste your time on earth hoping that something better will come in the afterlife.

There are too many fantastic moments on this album to mention all in one paper, and I urge you to check the album out yourself because my abysmal descriptions don't do it justice. The only way you can truly feel the emotion in these songs is to listen to them yourself. I promise you won't regret.

Cover Image Credit: www.skotcher.com

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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10 Places From Movies And TV You Can Visit In Real Life

It's like stepping into Hollywood!

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I am constantly so enamored by the world of Hollywood and by going to visit places I have seen on screen. It's always such an unreal feeling to see where my favorite pieces of entertainment were shot. Here are 10 places from some of our favorite movies to see and visit in the real world!

The High School from "10 Things I Hate About You"

If you have ever wanted to dance on the same stairs as Heath Ledger or just stand in the same courtyard as Julia Stiles then you're in luck! Along the water in Tacoma, Washington, Stadium High School is located which was used both inside and out as the high school from one of the greatest teen movies of all time. This school is massive and so beautiful it's almost Hogwarts level stunning.

Pacific Coast Academy from  "Zoey 101"

Growing up I always dreamed about going to Pacific Coast Academy and being best friends with Jamie Lynn Spears and one of those things can (kinda) become a reality! Located in Malibu is a beautiful campus called Pepperdine University and it is the school they used to shoot scenes of Zoey and the gang at PCA. It is a christian based college and is prestigious in it's own right so if unlike me you are smart enough you can live out my dreams.

Central City Police Department from "The Flash"

Have you ever wanted to show up to Detective Joe West's place of work? Well head to the Vancouver City Hall in Vancouver, Canada and you will recognize your surroundings as the Central City Police Department! If you are lucky enough to show up on a filming day, you might even seen the man himself — Barry Allen.

Forks High School from The Twilight Saga

Personally, I am more invested in Bella and Jacob but for all my Team Edward ladies (and gentleman) you can visit the real-life school where Bella and Edward first met and their love blossomed into whatever obsessive weird thing it was. They also used the parking lot at this school to film the infamous scene where Edward saves Bella from getting crushed by a car. The school is called Kalama High School and is located in Kalama, Washington

Max And Dani's House from "Hocus Pocus"

Anyone with taste loves the movie Hocus Pocus — that's just facts! And I have some good news for fans of the film...you can visit the infamous Denison house! Located in none other than Salem, Massachusetts you will find this beautiful home where my favorite siblings once lived.

Silent Hill from "Silent Hill"

I will say before talking about this place that visiting it is EXTREMELY dangerous as just like in the movie the town as been burning from below for years and years. This small town is called Centralia and is located Pennsylvania and has a roaring population of about four people.

Hobbiton from "Lord Of The Rings"

I am personally not a fan of Lord of the Rings but I know a lot of people are so I wanted to include this super cool place on the list. If you ever find yourself in New Zealand you can visit Hobbinton from the movies and spend a day living like your favorite characters.

Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter Series

Now this place will unfortunately be packed with muggles of course but you can find it at King's Cross Station in London! If you are anything like me and are obsessed with these magical movies this is a dream destination just don't run too hard at the wall if you're a muggle it will probably end in a concussion.

East High from the High School Musical Saga

Located in Salt Lake City Utah is the real life East High that was used in the filming of all three High School Musical movies. It is my absolute dream to attend this high school and walk the halls of the greatest high school of all time. They used both the outside and inside and the school so every inch of the school will remind you of these great teen movies.

Gus and Hazel's Bench from "The Fault in Our Stars" 

If you ever wanted to visit the site of this kiss between star crossed lovers you're in luck! Located along a canal in Amsterdam is a bench that is clearly marked by all the fault in our stars graffiti. Recreate this cute picture with your significant other and use a quote from the movie — then you'll just win in life.

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