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One Of My Favorites
on April 23, 2014
Cautionary Tales picks up where End Times left off. The style of the two albums is similar and it seems like the stories are extensions of that album. This is dark Eels, not the happier, funkier, more produced Eels of the past. E is at his best with these stories.
I wasn't a huge fan of Wonderful Glorious; it was too dark, and too long. End Times and Beautiful Freak are still my favorite albums - those seem to land on my playlists more than any others. I like that Cautionary Tales is thirteen songs long and much more to the point. It plays very well with my two favorite albums.
I like the production of this album; it has grit, emotion, and dirtiness in it. The first time I listened to the album I accidently had it on shuffle with End Times - the two albums worked together perfectly.
Parallels is a great homage to his father, hedging around the concept of parallel universes. It is about loss and his hope that the woman he's not with anymore is well. A classic Eels song with E's voice up front and strong, beautiful acoustic music behind him.
Agatha Chang has to be one of the funnier Eels songs I've heard in a long time. There is just something funny about how much he misses the girl with long black hair he dated long ago, and wishes he was still with her.
Series of Misunderstandings is backed with a nursery rhyme sound. A new different sound for the Eels.
Answers took me totally by surprise. The song is set to a slowed down version of Bruce Springsteen's Thunder Road. Of course E sounds nothing like Bruce, and the lyrics are completely different. I just couldn't help hearing Thunder Road.
Gentlemen's Choice is one of my least favorite songs on the album - E looks back on what he thought would be but never happened. This isn't the twenty year old writing songs of hope and what will happen in the future. This is about looking back and seeing his life didn't turn out the way he thought it should have. To put it kindly, it is a depressing song. One of the refrains is I'd be better off dead.
Dead Reckoning is a strange song - it is a metaphor for life, you go through life not knowing where you will go, there are no instruments to tell you the direction to go. You drive blindly down the road of life. Sometimes it ends well, other times not so well. The music has a hint of funeral dirge.
The album closes with Where I'm Going. For an album full of an older man looking back at his life, this is an odd song. The metaphor is a pocket full of seeds that he is going to spread around and hope for rain. For all the negativity, this is a bright hope for the future.