Neutral Milk Hotel, Revisited

I found out yesterday that my unhappy hard drive, which was being tinkered with by the second set of professionals, is not recoverable after all, and I’ve lost about a year’s worth of data. Fun!

It’s fine really—when I finally accessed what I actually lost, there’s little that cannot be replaced or forgotten about. I now have my computer back with a new hard drive, and one of the first things did was go back through my old CDs so that I could have something to listen to after three music-less weeks.

intheaeroplaneGoing through my college-era albums, I realized that I hadn’t had Neutral Milk Hotel on my computer in a long time. Remember them? If you kind of do, it’s a good time for a re-listen. And if you don’t remember them, you should get the CD (or download from iTunes and back it up for goodness’ sake). In The Aeroplane Over the Sea is a beautiful listen, with trumpets, lo-fi noise, and references to The Diary of Anne Frank. Hearing it now makes me think of it as a precursor to some of The Decemberists’ better songs—it’s thoroughly situated in the late 1990s (Neutral Milk Hotel was part of the Elephant Six collective), but the sad and touching images it evokes are from an earlier era.

I’m not the first person to revisit In the Aeroplane Over the Sea this year—Taylor Clark wrote about Jeff Magnum in a Slate article on the 10th anniversary of the album back in February. Clark wrote about how Magnum bowed out of the music scene after releasing Aeroplane, with no signs of returning. All the more reason to appreciate this album.

6 thoughts on “Neutral Milk Hotel, Revisited

  1. Well, that TOTALLY stinks about your computer! I have a question though. Did you lose any new patterns that we might have otherwise seen?

  2. Aw. :( *gives a hug* I’m sorry about your hard drive. I guess you can get most of it back, right? :D
    Just a question: Have you ever backed it up? My brother and my parents use a USB and back all of their data onto it, so that way it’s not lost. :D
    Hope that helps, and I hope you can get some of that data back! :)

  3. Thank you for your sympathies, everyone! Though I lost some patterns that I had jotted down without much plans for them, I do still have upcoming patterns for Halloween, and for the holiday season, and more to come! Resisty the Resistor is also still with us, and I’ll be posting him soon.

    SylverX, I did back up my computer a long time ago, but I’m going to be extra vigilant about backing it up more regularly from here on out!

  4. that album is a favorite of mine. i read somewhere that it’s supposed to be a concept album about ann frank, but i have to say i only really noticed in holland, 1945. you’re spot on about the decemberists- in fact i’m sure hearing so much nmh in them is why i fell instantly in love with them.

    with that said, boo about your comp!

  5. That is DEFINITELY my fav Neutral Milk Hotel song. I love going through old things and giving them a listen now and then, you can find so many forgotten gems that way. Good luck with your new hard drive! I am just replacing my old machine as well. It is a surprising amount of work.

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