Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
  • Alternative view 1 of Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
  • Alternative view 2 of Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

by Kim Cooper
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


Of all the recordings to emerge from the Athens-via-Denver collective called Elephant 6, Neutral Milk Hotel's second album is the one that has worked its way under the most skins. Magnet magazine named it the best album of the 1990s, and Creative Loafing recently devoted a cover story to one fan's quest to understand why band leader Jeff Mangum dropped out

Overview


Of all the recordings to emerge from the Athens-via-Denver collective called Elephant 6, Neutral Milk Hotel's second album is the one that has worked its way under the most skins. Magnet magazine named it the best album of the 1990s, and Creative Loafing recently devoted a cover story to one fan's quest to understand why band leader Jeff Mangum dropped out of sight soon after Aeroplane's release. The record sells steadily to an audience that finds it through word of mouth. Weird, beautiful, absorbing, difficult, In The Aeroplane Over the Sea is a surrealist text loosely based on the life, suffering and reincarnation of Anne Frank, with guest appearances from a pair of Siamese twins menaced by the cold and carnivores, a two-headed boy bobbing in a jar, anthropomorphic vegetables and a variety of immature erotic horrors. Mangum sings his dreamlike narratives with a dreamer's intensity, his creaky, off key voice occasionally breaking as he struggles to complete each dense couplet. The music is like nothing else in the 90s indie underground: a psychedelic brass band, its members self-taught, forging polychromatic washes of mood and tribute. The songs stick to one narrow key, the images repeat and circle back, and to listen is to be absorbed into a singular, heart-rending vision.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

'Cooper has managed to write the best music book that I've read so far... Awe alongside simple, direct speech. It's a delicate balance, that Cooper's excellent writing manages to preserve throughout the whole book...And this book doesn't only give information and wrap this exemplary album with an excellent text, it also gives me, and the rest of the prisoners of Jeff Mangum's scorched and wounded world, the excuse and the opportunity to climb on the rooftops and shout: 'For crying out loud, people, you better get to know this album now, before the aeroplane over the sea crashes exactly on that island with the place for only one record.'' ~ Guy Hajaj, Haoneg.com, 2006

Kim Cooper's book belongs to the 33 1/3 series, a group of books in which writers pay tribute to great albums that they love. Well - I assume they love them; at any rate, Cooper loves this one. She writes of its creation, reception, and unintended consequences with the care due a worthy subject. John Kissane, Buenogato.com

Real Detroit Weekly

Much of the Neutral Milk story has been pieced together over the years, but never as comprehensively as in Kim Cooper's Neutral Milk Hotel's In The Aeroplane Over the Sea.
Winter 2005/06 Chord Magazine Chord Magazine

These books are individual love letters to the albums themselves, shedding light on the deepest, most tucked-away aspects of the creative processes that produced them. While reading about music is never quite the same as hearing it, and no prose could ever emulate the same carnival-like, haunting, shiver-inducing sound that is In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Cooper's billet doux comes pretty close.
Flagpole Magazine Chris Hassiotis

In her new book 33 1/3: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea... Kim Cooper... unravels the rumors and demystifies much of the legend that has wound itself around songwriter Jeff Mangum since the Athens band's 1998 breakup... Cooper effectively reminds the reader that Neutral Milk Hotel was a band of real people-dear friends- playing instruments, but reinforces the idea that Aerpolane and its songs are a unique document of a time, place and creative community. After only six weeks, the book has gone back to press for a second printing...
February 2006 Los Angeles Alternative Los Angeles Alternative

Cooper's 2005 book on NMH and Aeroplane is part of the 33 1/3 series that treats cult-classic albums like dissertation fodder, and hers does a particularly stellar job of demystifying--as much as possible--the destitute and devoted dudes behind Neutral Milk Hotel's underground stardom. Her strengths as a social historian lend this read a certain depth that most Spin writers could never muster. Somehow, she miraculously manages to do an album of this ilk--as resistant to the bitter end as it's been to the spotlight--poetic justice.
Spring 2006 Ukula Magazine

There is a treasure-trove of trivia for the NMH aficionado, and a contextual introduction and passionate advertisement for the newcomer. Also, with [Cooper's] detailed account of the NMH community, Cooper gives us a sort of normative sociology of the kind of scene that can produce great art.
Alt.Culture.Guide

Cooper delves into the band's roots, setting up the relationships between all of the musicians that made up the Elephant 6 collective and banks like Apples In Stereo and the Olivia Tremor Control. With her easygoing narrative, Cooper achieves one of the hardest things to do when introducing readers to perfect strangers: she infuses each of the main players with a personality. When finishing In The Aeroplane Over The Sea the reader not only has a sense of who Jess Mangrum and friends are, but also what they were trying to accomplish with their music. Cooper explains why the album's audience and importance grow with each passing year while doing a fine job of also relating the music's immense charm and ...dare I say...magic.
Guy Hajaj

Cooper has managed to write the best music book that I've read so far... Awe alongside simple, direct speech. It's a delicate balance, that Cooper's excellent writing manages to preserve throughout the whole book...And this book doesn't only give information and wrap this exemplary album with an excellent text, it also gives me, and the rest of the prisoners of Jeff Mangum's scorched and wounded world, the excuse and the opportunity to climb on the rooftops and shout: 'For crying out loud, people, you better get to know this album now, before the aeroplane over the sea crashes exactly on that island with the place for only one record.
Buenogato.com John Kissane

Kim Cooper's book belongs to the 33 1/3 series, a group of books in which writers pay tribute to great albums that they love. Well - I assume they love them; at any rate, Cooper loves this one. She writes of its creation, reception, and unintended consequences with the care due a worthy subject.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826416902
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date:
11/16/2005
Series:
33 1/3 Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
119
Sales rank:
844,041
Product dimensions:
4.76(w) x 6.56(h) x 0.29(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author


Kim Cooper is the editrix of Scram, an occasional journal of unpopular culture dedicated to celebrating unjustly neglected artists in the worlds of music, literature, film/TV, comics and bohemia. With fellow 33 1/3 scribe David Smay, she is co-editor of the anthologies Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth and Lost in the Grooves: Scram's Capricious Guide to the Music You Missed. A third generation Angeleno, Kim offers offbeat bus tours of the city's crimes, literature and architectural gems through Esotouric, and blogs at the crime-a-day 1947project.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >