Nick Sweeney's Reviews > Things The Grandchildren Should Know

Things The Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Oliver Everett
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Nov 09, 11

Read in July, 2011

Mark Oliver Everett is ‘E’, the intelligent life form behind my fave group of the 1990s, the Eels. Liking the Eels – loving them – was important for me, in that I’d not been listening to new rock music of any kind for quite a few years. The first Eels album, Beautiful Freak, engaged me in a way I’d forgotten; haunting music, heavy and hard and yet, when it wanted to be, quiet and thought-provoking – never mellow (I hate that word). I thought it broke the mould in presenting a rock-based sound but with enough additions of weird stuff to make it sound almost avant-garde at some points. Electro-Shock Blues followed, then Daisies of the Galaxy, Shootenanny, right up to the (2005, I think) Blinking Lights. I’m stopping there for the time being, as MOE’s autobiography does too. This is no vapid rockstar crap. It was apparent, certainly from the lyrics snatched from Electro-Shock Blues (I’m not big on lyrics, but sometimes they just leap out at me, or drill themselves steadily into my brain) that all had not been well in MOE’s family life. I’m not going to spoil any of it here, but he has had more than his share of weird deaths of loved ones, and he doesn’t pull any punches in talking about this. He doesn’t seek sympathy, and didn’t when all the bad things were going on, only understanding, and he doesn’t always paint himself in the best light either – and yet without any of the histrionic hey-look-at-me-and-love-me-for-confessing stuff you get from so many people in the public eye. He goes into the impetus behind most of the tunes on these first albums, which, if you’re a fan, will be interesting – and if you’re not a fan, but are interested in the creative process, you should also find something to grab you. Probably a book for fans of the Eels, though, and I still am, and will continue to be, and a big fan of the man who got me back into rock music.
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