Eels' End Times is maybe the saddest album of 2010

When I first put on Eels’ new album, I was immediately thrown into a fit of crippling sadness. Frontman Mark “E” Oliver Everett said he wrote the album about divorce–specifically about a divorce in his own life, the details of which he is keeping to himself. So the album he created walks us from literally “The Beginning” of a relationship somewhat chronologically through the breakup and resulting emotions. What he ends up with is not bad, don’t get me wrong. Just know that you risk your emotional state by listening.

After setting up his happy relationship on the first track, “The Beginning,” E  immediately sets up the sadness with the breakup song and the quick feelings of adjusting to loneliness and trying in vain to get your love back. From there, there isn’t really an improvement. We’re just treated to so many varying states of sadness and depression. “A Line In The Dirt” is retrospective to the problems in the relationship. “End Times” uses a homeless man’s sign as a metaphor for probably the lowest point of our narrator’s life. We get a little anger with “Paradise Blues,” and the highest point is on “Little Bird,” when the only happiness is found in befriending a bird.

Even by the end of the album (SPOILER ALERT), our narrator isn’t better. All he can conclude is that maybe someday he’ll finally be happy. Basically, End Times is just a big ol’ :( fest. Now, musically it’s pretty diverse. A lot of the songs fall under the blues/rock/country rock umbrella, but E does a pretty good job mixing things up. The music, though, often takes a back seat to the lyrics. It makes the sadness easier to seep in and afflict your soul.

But I guess that’s the part of the whole point of End Times. The perfect way to express feelings of deep depression and loneliness is to make your listener truly feel what you went through. Isn’t that one of the goals of music, to immerse your audience in the very feelings that inspired your art? If that’s the case, Eels do a great job at it. Even if it’s not the catchiest album, or one of the best put together, it has the power to deeply affect the listener, and that’s something pretty rare. Unfortunately, it’s also something pretty :(.

Eels – “End Times” [MP3]

Eels – “Little Bird” [MP3]

Buy End Times on iTunes

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