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Rock - Released January 1, 1996 | Universal Music Mexico

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Eccentric and quirky are the best ways to describe the Eels' debut effort, Beautiful Freak. Concise pop tunes form the backbone of the album, yet tinges of despair and downright meanness surface just when you've been lulled into thinking this is another pop group, as titles like "My Beloved Monster," "Your Lucky Day in Hell" and "Novocaine for the Soul" indicate. All in all, Beautiful Freak is a satisfying first record. © James Chrispell /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 30, 2020 | E Works Records

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Mark Oliver Everett, the man who is the benevolent despot behind the Eels, is not adverse to change, and after the cool electronic surfaces and nervous lyrical viewpoint of 2018's The Deconstruction, he decided to take things in a different direction for his 13th album, 2020's Earth to Dora. By Everett's standards, Earth to Dora sounds optimistic, or at least he seems reasonably content most of the time, which is pretty impressive given the dour, edgy tone of much of his music. While most of The Deconstruction was built from samples, loops, and electronics, Earth to Dora has a far warmer and more organic feel. Even when a close inspection reveals that large portions of the arrangements are comprised of keyboards and drum loops, the guitars (either acoustic or on the jangly end of electric) make this music seem engagingly human, and "Anything for Boo," "The Gentle Souls," and the title track sound unexpectedly close to optimistic. ("Dark and Dramatic" is less joyous, as the title would suggest, but the mandolin that carries the melody is lovely and gives the song a heart that lifts it out of any sort of doldrums.) Of course, Everett probably isn't capable of making an album that's devoid of dark thoughts, and between the uncomfortable jealousy of "Are You Fucking Your Ex," the mournful reflections of "OK," and the sunny but uncertain "Are We Alright Again," there's plenty on Earth to Dora to suggest Everett hasn't sold his soul to optimism. Still, for an artist who often sounds like he'd prefer to keep humanity in general at a distance, Earth to Dora is the work of a man who is living in the real world and feels OK about it, clearly not delighted about everything but open to the possibilities of love, happiness, and good music. For the Eels, those are not emotions to dismiss offhand. In an era of malaise, Eels are contrary enough to take a shot at feeling good, and Earth to Dora is well-written and imaginatively produced pop for grown-ups that reminds us Mark Oliver Everett is crazy enough to try anything once -- even feeling OK for a while. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 6, 2018 | E Works Records

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“D” like deconstruction. “E” like Everett. One might have thought Mark Oliver was blackening the last pages of his twenty-year-old alphabet book with the introspective The Cautionary Tales Of Mark Oliver Everett, released in 2014. Four years have gone by. And unsurprisingly for this twelfth chapter, the hypersensitive artist with a coral voice has composed an absolute gem. A fine and beautiful showpiece. With folk embroideries, arranged pop, hemstitched silences (Premonition) and sensual strings (The Epiphany), The Deconstruction oscillates back and forth between emotional auroras (Be Hurt) and scruffy rock trepidations (Today Is The Day, You're The Shining Light). To top it off, the multi-instrumentalist surrounded himself with great talent and met up with long-time collaborators in the Compound Studios, in California: bassist and keyboarder Koool G Murder (Kelly Logsdon) and P-Boo (Mike Sawitzke), as well as the Deconstruction Orchestra & Choir, and Mickey Petralia, who also worked on Electro-Schock Blues (1998). Seemingly disjointed, the fifteen tracks that make up the album roll out between lavish orchestrations filled with flutes, organs and keyboards, and bare segments for lyrical declamations (Archie Goodnight), arranging the musical space, accommodating instrumental pauses (The Quandary, The Unanswerable). All for a gracious and optimistic result! © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Rock - Released January 1, 2000 | DreamWorks

The Eels were always a vehicle for a songwriter called (E), but by the point of their third album, 2000's Daisies of the Galaxy, they were his and his alone. When it came time to deliver a follow-up to the intimate, tortured Electro-Shock Blues, (E) couldn't help but deliver a lighter album, but he'd already turned so far into himself that his music was entirely insular. Of course, his music had always been fairly insular, but if Daisies of the Galaxy is any indication, he's gone so far in, he can't really come out. He's certainly not as extreme as Brian Wilson or Syd Barrett, but he's at the level of XTC or Roy Wood, making pop music for an already-established audience. Nothing on Daisies of the Galaxy will draw in casual listeners the way "Novocaine for the Soul" did, since everything is in miniature, from the yardsale production to the poetic scrawlings. Unlike its predecessor, the album doesn't play like (E)'s private diary; instead, it feels as if one is rummaging through his sketchbook. And, like many sketchbooks, some moments have blossomed, and others remain just intriguing, unformed ideas. For the dedicated, it's worth sifting through the album to find the keepers, since there are enough moments of quirky genius. But not all longtime fans will find this rewarding, since (E) has spent more time in creating mood than crafting songs. There are very few melodies that resonate like his best work, and the stripped-down, yet eccentric production -- sounding much like a cross between Jon Brion and Beck -- never feels realized. That's the problem with an offbeat, gifted musician becoming too insular; there are still clear clues of why he has his reputation, but there's not enough to justify exactly why he does. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 1, 2009 | [PIAS] Cooperative

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Rock - Released January 1, 1988 | DreamWorks

The Eels' second release, Electro-Shock Blues, is a much darker album than their underrated debut, 1996's Beautiful Freak, but just as rewarding. Singer/guitarist/songwriter E experienced many upheavals in his personal life between albums (the passing of several family members and close friends), and decided to work his way through life's tribulations via his music. The result is a spectacular epic work, easily on par with such classic albums cut from the same cloth -- Neil Young's Tonight's the Night, Lou Reed's Magic and Loss. For some of the most introspective and haunting tunes of recent times, look no further than the title track, "Last Stop: This Town," and "Elizabeth on the Bathroom Floor." And although the lyrics deal almost entirely with mortality, the music for "Hospital Food," "Cancer for the Cure," and "Going to Your Funeral, Pt. 1" is comparable to Beck's funky noise, while "Efils' God," "The Medication Is Wearing Off," and "My Descent Into Madness" are all ethereal, soothing compositions. One of the finest and fully realized records of 1998, a must-hear. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 26, 2005 | Vagrant Records

On 2003's Shootenanny!, Eels frontman and songwriter Mark Oliver Everett seemed to approach his work with fresh ears. He cut through his own trademark lyric and production excesses (very evident on the wonderfully messy and rocked-up Souljacker) and came up with an offering of quirky, sparking tunes that were shot through with American roots music and his trademark power pop hooks, while never compromising his stubbornly iconoclastic way of looking at the world. The same cannot be said for Blinking Lights and Other Revelations. Over 90 minutes and 33 songs, E opens his own, personal Pandora's Box and lets everything out musically, lyrically, and emotionally. This is the most searingly personal album E and his ad hoc stable of cohorts have recorded since Electro-Shock Blues -- though it's not as unremittingly dark. The handsomely designed double digipack is adorned with familial photographs -- including a cover shot of his mother as a child. Strings, brass, tinkling bells, and gauzy layers of sonic textures stream through these haphazard songs. In fact, despite the appearance of family, childhood, changing times, and other concerns of personal narrative, Blinking Lights is not a unified album; its tunes are gathered seemingly willy-nilly conceptually. No matter; it is E's world-weary voice that holds the disparate parts of the album together in a loose, soft web that envelopes him and the listener. It sits dead center, allowing the tensions, textures, and moods to grip and release him at will. He expresses it all honestly, without immersion or unnecessary put-on detachment. It is his voice that gives the record a type of spiritual quality, one that seems to gauge lessons learned -- either with acceptance or rejection -- from the various truths revealed. Family and history are woven together over the entirety to create not only introspection but a sense of time's slippage, emotional and physical displacement, and grief that is offset in places by poignant humor. Disc one's standouts include the glorious "Railroad Man," a country-ish lament for that quickly disappearing way of life, while "Son of a Bitch," with its elegant saxophones, weepy pedal steel, and stately pace, offsets the painful revelation of the protagonist, "Going Fetal," a new dance tune (à la the Twist) features a vocal sample by Tom Waits and a faux, live rave-up setting fueled completely by a loopy Wurlitzer and a lyric that expresses with true irony the perceived joy of escape. "Mother Mary" is a stomping organ and rhythm-driven track that references reggae and carnival music. Its subject matter is offset by the musical attack and the eerie sound of an empty playground swing weaving its way through the mix. The second disc begins with the elegiac yet shimmering "Dust of Ages," which feels like a demo from Peter Gabriel's second album. "I'm Going to Stop Pretending That I Didn't Break Your Heart" is gem-like pop/rock balladry, while "Dusk: A Peach in the Orchard" -- co-written with the Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian -- is a modern folk song that comes from the broken heart of memory, and could have been written during the Civil War era. R.E.M.'s Peter Buck co-wrote and performs on the ironic "To Lick Your Boots." The set closes with the bittersweet personal testament "Things the Grandchildren Should Know." It's unfocused and leaky lyrically, but it gets to emotional places most songwriters only dream of. Blinking Lights and Other Revelations is blessed because of -- not in spite of -- its excesses. It's not like anything else out there right now. It makes no apologies, it's shaky in places, and there are cuts that don't seemingly belong on either disc but fit within the context of the album as a whole. It feels like E and his collaborators have made an honest to goodness indie rock record, one that is immediate yet whose depths cannot be fathomed immediately. It's unwieldy, too long, irritating in some places, graceful in others, and sometimes clumsy. But it is utterly original and startlingly beautiful. At this juncture, records like this are almost museum pieces, mistakenly and cynically written off to the delusions of pop grandeur of earlier eras. Thank goodness rock music as we once knew it still exists in the minds and hearts of some of our more perceptive artists. E is one of them; he put everything into making Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, and the payoff is that it shows. © Thom Jurek /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released April 13, 2015 | E Works Records

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In 2014, Mark Oliver Everett received "the freedom of the City of London" (in essence, a key to the city) the same week as his band Eels performed and recorded this set at the Royal Albert Hall. There's a bit of irony here: four years earlier, he was arrested as a suspected terrorist while strolling through Hyde Park. The raucous Eels of Wonderful, Glorious is not the band that showed up for this concert (which is also captured so handsomely on video for inclusion in the package). This version of the band is in suits, not track wear. Everett is mostly at the piano. The Eels introduce the show with brief, lilting versions of "Where I'm At," Disney's "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Pinocchio, "The Morning," and "Parallels" before Everett greets the audience with a wry, humorous monologue. It references the esteemed venue as a "dump" and promises the crowd an evening of "sweet, soft, bummer rock." What follows is a musical tour through the band's catalog with each studio album but Shootenanny! represented. The second half of the gig draws more heavily from then-current The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett. Sure, these are the "hits," but this guided tour through the dark, often heartbreakingly honest complexities of this songwriter is played with mostly sparse elegance by the Eels, including a stripped-back (though hardly all-acoustic) arrangement of "Grace Kelly Blues." Sometimes the monologues are longer than the songs, but none are excessive, and hearing them more than once doesn't detract from the enjoyment. The show's second half picks up the intensity a bit with the roots rocker "I Like Bird," but it's followed by the poignant, reflexive pop romanticism (complete with a doo wop backing chorus) of "My Beloved Monster." Its "official" closer is a loping "Where I'm Going," which looks at turning 50 unflinchingly. There are three encores, however, including "I Like the Way This Is Going" and "Blinking Lights (For Me)" that leave their studio counterparts wanting. In a "Phantom Encore" Everett plays the Hall's mighty pipe organ that he was previously forbidden to -- by the institution -- not once, but twice. This three-disc package is an essential document for fans; it reveals almost all of Everett's dimensions as a songwriter, and how tight and fluid the Eels are. Everett's humor balances the sometimes harrowing narratives in his tunes. All told, most of these interpretations are essential. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2008 | Geffen

For Eels fans, and especially those obsessed with Mark Oliver Everett, the man who created and fronts the ever-changing lineup as well as writing its songs, 2008 kicked off anything but quietly. Despite a mere six studio and one live record in the band's catalog, E and Universal/Geffen have issued what amounts to a truckload of backlog material on two separate -- some would say excessive -- releases: Meet the Eels: Essential Eels 1996-2006, Vol. 1, a CD/DVD package, and Useless Trinkets: B-Sides, Soundtracks, Rarities, and Unreleased 1996-2006. The latter includes two discs of music and a live DVD documenting the band's 2006 Lollapalooza performance. Meet the Eels is, arguably, the way a "hits" compilation should be presented, to fans as well as the merely curious. It's loaded to the gills with 24 cuts that include the unreleased "Get Ur Freak On." The rest of this monster is culled with cuts from Beautiful Freak (four) Electro-Shock Blues (two), plus an unissued remix of "Climbing to the Moon," by Jon Brion.This decade gets the lion's share of the material naturally, with four tunes from 2000s Daisies of the Galaxy, and a trio off 2001's Souljacker; a pair of tunes were tacked on from Shootenanny! (still the most confounding toss of the band's history), and a whopping five from Blinking Lights and Other Revelations. The latter was the band's best-selling record and yet it's still debated hotly among fans. One thing is for sure: for the first time since Beautiful Freak it drew new listeners in droves. Also included here for some unfathomable reason is "Dirty Girl," from the Live at Town Hall offering, and luckily, "I Need Some Sleep," from the soundtrack album for Shrek 2. Right, you guessed it, nothing here comes from A Man Called E, making it an incomplete Everett document, but it's close enough. Simply put, there is no reason to go into the track choices, they are listed below and can be debated endlessly anyway. This tri-fold digipack is loaded with photos, E's own elliptical annotations for the tracks, and a wonderfully long and now legendary piece by Mark Edwards from the Sunday Times in London. Some of E's notes are clever, and some seem just plain tossed off, as if they are memories he really doesn't have any longer but needed to get down on paper for this. That's OK -- his very natural ambivalence is part of the appeal in his idiosyncratic, adventurous, and original songs. The DVD contains virtually every video the band shot and released for commercial play; they are compiled and available as a retail item for the first time. As great an introduction or mix the CD makes, it's the video collection that makes it all worth the cash. Given the kitchen sink approach of it, it offers an even more diverse and undebatable document; showcasing everything from original conceptions by directors to the escalator to the oblivion lineup changes. There is simply no better way to get acquainted with an enigma. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Geffen

Being released on the same day as the companion piece to the CD/DVD package Meet the Eels: Essential Eels, Vol. 1, Useless Trinkets: B-Sides, Soundtracks, Rarities and Unreleased 1996-2006 is a true delight for those who have followed the unwieldy, elliptical career of Mark Oliver Everett (aka "E"), who has employed more musicians than probably even he can count under the Eels moniker. There is a DVD in this triple-disc set. It contains the band's 2006 performance at Lollapalooza. It's a nice addition, the show was fine, but it's almost an afterthought for anyone who digs into these cuts with anything approaching earnestness. First off, there are 50 of them spread over two discs. From the beginning E expresses his own ambivalence with a "Live from Hell" version of "Novocaine for the Soul." How do we know? The opening annotation in the liner notes simply states: "When you have a hit song, you're expected to play it every single day of your life. Good luck not going crazy." The performance reflects that truth. But it is followed immediately by the delightfully poignant, I-love-you-I-hate-you ditty of truth called "Fucker"; according to his notes, it was his girlfriend's nickname for him. (There isn't anyone who hasn't been involved deeply with someone who doesn't get every word of this simple construction.) "Dog's Life" is full of not only wonder-words, but strings, loopy textures, and sparse guitars. Of course, the soundtrack tunes and rarities are awfully welcome -- especially now, before the Eels' single, EP, and movie tunes shelf gets any larger. But E's sense of pulling covers out of his hat walks the same knife-edged push and pull between hell and something less than hell -- purgatory maybe? It adds immeasurably to what's here. The sense of the abject in "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You," accompanied only by his piano, is the opposite of the Elvis version. Elvis begs as a youth begs, E sings into the void of an empty apartment knowing that this confession isn't ever going to be heard because he's already tried that. The reading of the Hollies' "Jennifer Eccles" has a beautiful Chamberlin played by E and a very skeletal Gretsch played by the same. Where the Hollies sang this song with its requisite teen confidence, E's comes from the hall of memory before it fades into the ether. The line "I hope that Jennifer Eccles/Is going to follow me there..." takes on a chilling significance. The version of "Dark End of the Street" (a Chips Moman/Dan Penn soul classic that is performed by everybody, but it still belongs to James Carr) has a mournful horn section -- and perhaps it's Lisa Germano on the backing vocal. Prince's "If I Was Your Girlfriend" is treated with a sublime post-grunge feedback anti-funkiness to begin, but E nails the tune in his way. And the version of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" simply has to be heard to be believed; if you haven't already heard it, E sounds like a man possessed with a band out to tear itself apart. And one controversy has finally been resolved: "Rotten World Blues" is only on the U.S. version of the Souljacker bonus EP, kinda making up for the fact that the remix of "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues" was only included in the U.K. version. But there's more. There are alternate readings of album cuts which prove to be just that, alternates without any true revelations, though they are perfectly fitting in this context. The booklet is bursting at the seams with craziness, memorabilia, weird observations written on hotel room stationary, annotated stoicisms, photographs galore, and some hilarious asides. When taken together with its companion, Meet the Eels, the two form a better blueprint for how these kinds of collections should be done. Rather than try to paste it all togeter in a box set, giving people a load of stuff they already have, you can do a basic hits collection with a bonus DVD, providing it contains all the videos. Then, especially for the fanatics, plug in something to cover most if not all of the holes in the tracks, replace bootleg versions, and add an unreleased concert to the mix to make it irresistible. It's still marketing, but at least it's semi-honest. The Essential Eels collection contained those videos for the sake of a kind of complete-ism (and to get the hardcore faithful to buy both sets). It's understandable but utterly questionable. Trinkets would have been perfect had it contained those videos as well as the concert on a single DVD -- there was room. But as it is, it's not to be missed for having the marginal asides collected so handsomely and carefully. © Thom Jurek /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released April 21, 2014 | E Works Records

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It's not like Mark Oliver Everett (hereafter known as E) hasn't dealt with these themes before. His whole recording career, most of it done under the Eels moniker, has been full of brilliantly crafted pop songs that tour death, terminal illness, regrets, lost dear ones, a veiled belief in better days and times overlaid by thick angst, and now and then, actual bursts of bouncing joy and humor. So there's nothing really new thematically on the 11th Eels album, The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett, and even its sparse, stripped-down, and lightly orchestrated acoustic folk feel is something E has often visited. He turned 50 while writing these songs, so maybe that has something to do with the heavy and regretful tone that washes through these rather muted, weary, and almost whispered musings, few of which even rise to the tempo of a slow shuffle. There's hardly a snare drum or a trap kit in sight. E is obviously trying to present a story here, for the album opens with a brief instrumental called "Where I'm At," touches down on a song called "Where I'm From" midway through, and then closes things out with E doing his best Tom Waits impression on the closing track, "Where I'm Going," which ultimately decides, perhaps not quite completely convinced, that the future looks promising. But in truth, most of the songs have to do with regrets over a lost love, one E wishes he hadn't walked away from, and if that's what this cautionary tale of an album is cautioning, then it's hopeless, we've all done that. Everyone knows how that feels. What saves this album from being just another version of some guy at the bar going on and on about some lady he lost is E's subtle and easy way with a melody, and even though some of these songs are so slow as to barely have a pulse, they flow well and easily into and out of each other. A couple stand out on first listen, most notably the thoughtful "Parallels" and the first single "Agatha Chang," which captures this album's theme of facing up to and resolving one's regrets in a perfect narrative, and it gives off a Randy Newman singing Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" kind of feel. Obviously E felt he had to make this album. Now he has, and the message seems to be don't mess up a good relationship or you'll regret it, but only time will reveal what the future brings, and that future maybe, just maybe, might be better if we actually learn something. Thanks E. Who could argue? © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 21, 2006 | Vagrant Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 2002 | DreamWorks

As with the band's previous albums, Souljacker bristles with pop euphoria and cracking production, and proves Eels' frontman, E, to be a superb songwriter, but just like those previous albums, Souljacker ultimately falls a bit flat over the course of its extended running time. Album opener "Dog Faced Boy" exemplifies the weaker half of the album's 12 tracks. Though it's a decent punk glam take on T-Rex dynamics, it doesn't exactly beg for repeat listens like the album's better half. "That's Not Really Funny," "Woman Driving, Man Sleeping," "Fresh Feeling," "Friendly Ghost," and "What Is This Note?" are as strong as any songs in the band's back catalog. On these songs, lush strings, found sounds, children's toys, spy themes, surf music, elaborate piano segments, and fuzzy harmonicas mingle in the band's trademark, innovative way. Easily besting almost anything in Beck's quirky bag of songs, these songs display the charm, polish, and sincerity of E's original vision. Sadly, there's too much skronking punk-pop noise in the remaining songs that serves to drag the album down. This limited-edition release adds a bonus disc of four songs, one of them superb, two of them downright horrible, and one of them a useless remix. Only "I Write the B-Sides" warrants seeking out the limited edition. Its opening lines show E at his most poignant and wise, as he sings "I write the B-sides that make a small portion of the world cry/I like the seaside and singing songs that make you not want to die." Punchy, exuberant, and smart, the song would have made perfect sense on Souljacker in place of the somewhat mindless filler that permeates its cracks. Souljacker is certainly a welcome addition to any fans Eels collection, but due to its weaker batch of tracks, it's hard to recommend it to newcomers. © Tim DiGravina /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 23, 2010 | E Works Records

Alternative & Indie - Released February 4, 2013 | [PIAS] Cooperative

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On his tenth album under the Eels moniker, Mark "E" Everett continues to follow his musical muse wherever it'll take him with Wonderful, Glorious. After so many records it seems like E would be well past the point of any new firsts, but this is the first album to be recorded in his expansive new studio, mysteriously named The Compound, as well as the first album written in collaboration with the rest of the band. This more open, organic process comes through on the songs, providing E and company with a refreshing amount of creative freedom after the relative confinement of doing a conceptual three-album trilogy (2009's Hombre Lobo and 2010's End Times and Tomorrow Morning). While this process and studio have made their impact musically, Eels fans can rest assured that E's melancholic, beaten-down lyricism remains intact. Proclaiming "Every time I find myself in this old bind, watching the death of all my hopes/In the ring so long gonna prove 'em wrong, I'm not knocked out but I'm on the ropes" during the sad yet hopeful "On the Ropes," the album finds Everett in a more grounded and, relatively, positive place. This feeling is reinforced on "New Alphabet," where Everett lets us know "It's looking good, I dug my way out/I'm changing up what the story's about," making it clear that this new way of making music is working for him both artistically and personally, and though there's plenty of evidence that E is still out there suffering for his art, it seems that his days are a little less dark than usual. © Gregory Heaney /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 16, 2020 | E Works Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 21, 2014 | E Works Records

It's not like Mark Oliver Everett (hereafter known as E) hasn't dealt with these themes before. His whole recording career, most of it done under the Eels moniker, has been full of brilliantly crafted pop songs that tour death, terminal illness, regrets, lost dear ones, a veiled belief in better days and times overlaid by thick angst, and now and then, actual bursts of bouncing joy and humor. So there's nothing really new thematically on the 11th Eels album, The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett, and even its sparse, stripped-down, and lightly orchestrated acoustic folk feel is something E has often visited. He turned 50 while writing these songs, so maybe that has something to do with the heavy and regretful tone that washes through these rather muted, weary, and almost whispered musings, few of which even rise to the tempo of a slow shuffle. There's hardly a snare drum or a trap kit in sight. E is obviously trying to present a story here, for the album opens with a brief instrumental called "Where I'm At," touches down on a song called "Where I'm From" midway through, and then closes things out with E doing his best Tom Waits impression on the closing track, "Where I'm Going," which ultimately decides, perhaps not quite completely convinced, that the future looks promising. But in truth, most of the songs have to do with regrets over a lost love, one E wishes he hadn't walked away from, and if that's what this cautionary tale of an album is cautioning, then it's hopeless, we've all done that. Everyone knows how that feels. What saves this album from being just another version of some guy at the bar going on and on about some lady he lost is E's subtle and easy way with a melody, and even though some of these songs are so slow as to barely have a pulse, they flow well and easily into and out of each other. A couple stand out on first listen, most notably the thoughtful "Parallels" and the first single "Agatha Chang," which captures this album's theme of facing up to and resolving one's regrets in a perfect narrative, and it gives off a Randy Newman singing Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" kind of feel. Obviously E felt he had to make this album. Now he has, and the message seems to be don't mess up a good relationship or you'll regret it, but only time will reveal what the future brings, and that future maybe, just maybe, might be better if we actually learn something. Thanks E. Who could argue? © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2009 | E Works Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 18, 2010 | [PIAS] Cooperative

Mark “E” Everett’s Eels have been prolific these last five years, issuing new, live, and retrospective recordings; even a film score. Since 2005’s Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, Everett has written songs increasingly obsessed with his own loneliness and aging. Adrian Tomine's cover illustration for End Times depicts a raggedy old man reinforcing these themes before the album even starts. They are so prevalent, expressed so intimately -- even by the Eels' own standards 0- it’s almost uncomfortable listening. E's self-reflection feels like he’s singing into a dirty, distorted mirror to offer the truth of his situation back at him -- and consequently, us. End Times is ultimately about the end of a relationship that has left him shattered; reinforcing his loneliness and sense of mortality. E blames no one but himself. He details the joy the relationship brought on “The Beginning,” with an acoustic guitar that quietly remembers its simplicity. In “Gone Man,” however, the next track, a jarring shift occurs: an electric rockabilly shuffle reveals: “Some things you can fuck right up . . . my problem was that I could not see/what was important right in front of me . . . too soon gone man gone . . . She used to love me but it’s over now.” This is a dark, sparse, elegantly -- and enjoyably -- somewhat mopey, paradoxical album. It’s emotionally raw, but devoid of self-pity. It's charming in its sense of irony and self-awareness, and reflects empathy for “a dying world. . . I’m not the only one who’s feeling this pain.” There are reflections on the past in the skeletally atmospheric “In My Younger Days," whereas the title tracks expresses E’s fear of ending up a crazy old man on the street, but one who's willing to accept it if necessary. Throughout there are reminiscences from the relationship both bad and good. First in the piano, banjo, and string-laden “A Line in the Dirt,” and then in “Apple Trees,” where a spoken word tape plays over a barely there three-chord vamp. The closer, “On My Feet,” is a quiet, minimally arranged waltz with organ, guitars, and a vocal that comes out from the ether, that reveals an anthem: "I’m a man in great pain over great beauty . . . but I’m pretty sure I’ve been through worse, I’m sure I can take the hit.” He describes actions he takes to stem desperation: pushing the bed against the wall so it won’t feel so empty. In the end, he expresses his truth: that he loved fully even if imperfectly; before stating: “One sweet day I’ll be back on my feet/and I’ll be alright/I just gotta get back on my feet.” Sometimes art extracts a terrible price from its creator; The Eels' End Times proves it. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 11, 2020 | E Works Records

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Eels in the magazine