Retro Review: Eels – ‘Daisies of the Galaxy’
By Walter Price
In the second half of the 1990’s working at an alternative rock station witnessing Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit, Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy, Brain Setzer, Radiohead and Korn battling for airplay it was a complete change of alright when I was introduced to the sounds of EELS.
Beautiful Freaks (’96) and the follow-up Electro-Shock Blues (’98) seem to be two almost perfect examples of E’s (Mark Oliver Everett) most ballyhooed efforts, groundbreaking à la Beck before him but it is 2000’s Daisies of the Galaxy that really dug into my soul. An album finding its creator purposely jabbing at what is ‘pop’ music in tales of confusion, loss, struggle with humor, confusion and pure thoughts of WTF delight.
No point in trying to fully figure out why and I missed my chance to come close in doing so in an interview with E some years after this near masterpiece’s release. That will hopefully be corrected one day.
Daisies of the Galaxy has spawned not so much as imitators but has solidified the fact that one’s thought process set to catchy and off kilter soundtracks is okay. Pop music doesn’t need to be by the numbers to thrill, intrigue and captivate the listener. Long live freedom of one’s weird, honest and personal strife riddled approaches to music making; it’s what real music is all about. And for what it’s worth, I too like birds.
I found this review from PopMatters published March 2000 that finds the reviewer seemingly uncertain of his (or your) interest in the foundations of the album but gives it a high mark in the end of it all so let’s have a look at some excerpts from 14 years ago regarding a now classic must have album, Daisies of the Galaxy.
As a side note, Robert Christgau called the album a “Dud’…oh that Christgau…
Eels: Daisies of the Galaxy
By Fred Kovey 13 March 2000
Daisies of the Galaxy, the latest release from a man named E—also known as a “band” named Eels, plays like a demented nursery rhyme. The melodies are old and familiar, the rhyme schemes are Mother Goose-simple, but the off-kilter production and lyrics betray the music in a manner that would be ironic if the whole thing weren’t delivered with so much conviction.
E’s songs are strongest when they’re personal—or at least in the first person, so those who are disgusted by self-pity would do well to steer clear. But, for a moper, E gets a lot of mileage out of what goes on in his own head, and all that seething introspection on the slow songs makes the rock numbers sound like a relief rather than just attempts at singles. The semi-aggressive, unlisted final track and the radio friendly “Sound of Fear” are two of the record’s most notable rave-ups and they’re placed perfectly to break up the pity party before things get too maudlin for comfort.
Ultimately Daisies of the Galaxy is a fine pop record in an era that seems uninterested in pop unless it’s marketed with dance steps and a quicky bio. Though not the equal of the best work of Stephen Merritt or Elliot Smith, Daisies of the Galaxy is worthy of attention by alterna-pop fans and anyone else desperate for catchy music for grown-ups.
Read The Full Review here.