Eels - “Extremely Wicked” Album Review
It’s not as much of an “Amateur Hour” as is a mediocre 40 minutes.
Eels is an indie rock band primarily known for their unique, raw sounding audio filled to the brim with guitar riffs and drum sets. Also, the rough yet chill voice of their lead singer Mark Everett or stage name “E.”
E is also the only person to be with the band for its entirety of existence. He does all the singing of the songs mixed in a multitude of instruments and lyrics he creates. He is the heart of soul of the band, so it makes sense that this album takes the story of his mindset during the pandemic.
“Extremely Wicked” is the 14th album produced by Eels. This album deals with aging, love, depression and life during being a single father in the pandemic.
The first song is “Amateur Hour.” The song seems to send the message that even though he’s a professional, he’s still an amateur. He has aged a lot of since the start of the band, yet he still feels like he hasn’t gone “pro” yet. He is still learning from his past and the future of songs waiting for him.
“Good Night On Earth” is following a story about how a person and how their life doesn’t seem great until it is. The song is talking about E’s depression and how sometimes he wants to die. The world sometimes gets tough, but he thinks when he gets a good night on Earth nothing can break it. Those moments are to live for, and he thinks he is in a “good night” now.
“Amateur Hour” and “Good Night On Earth” have epic intro and guitar riffs throughout to grab the listeners attention.
“Strawberries and Popcorn” is a simpler tune and message. Sometimes life gets busy, and you just eat bizarre foods like strawberries and popcorn, and it tastes good.
“Steam Engine” has the best guitar and intense sound. The song is about pushing forward like a steam engine and even depression keeps moving forward and attacking harder as each day goes pass. He worries that it could led to a suicide for some people which is depressing theme for people that life pushes people to the brink and some can’t get passed it.
“So Anyway” is a sad yet happy tune. He mixes in the theme of being sad about the divorce but happy he’s with his son, but also can’t imagine life without his son. His son holds him down and he loves it, but the smooth sound makes the whole song sound sadder than it really is because although he talks about divorce and imagining life with his son gone, E is happy with having his son around and can’t imagine life without him.
“Grandfather Clock Strikes Twelve” is about how time eventually kills everything. Everything must eventually end. He still feels young, but he knows he is aging and eventually his career and life will end like those around him.
“Stumbling Bee” is a message of the cold world surrounding. It has a pleasant tune, but it talks about how life is just a mess. That one can feel it get harder as it goes on. But it is not mad, it's just that the world has some problems that it throws at you.
“The Magic” is talking about his personality. How when someone sees him and gets to know him, he has his magic that makes you drawn to him, until it's what gets him rejected. That not everyone gets the magic, and he ends up alone, rejected as always with his magic.
“Better Living Through Desperation” is about exactly the name. He feels living through desperation helped make life look better and appreciate the small things that it has to offer even while he is desperate.
“What It Isn’t” is E dealing with life. He no longer wants to be complacent with life and accept how it is. He is finally grabbing the bull, life, by the horns and taking control after years of accepting sadness.
E’s voice in the song is an intense sound that makes it feel like he’s breaking free. The intensity and raw feel are exciting to listen to.
“Learning While I Lose” has a similar theme to “Amateur Hour.” He talks about how he’solder and while he is stumbling throughout life he just learns more and more. The uplifting beat makes it sound like the routine of dealing with hecklers, failures and just not doing well, but he’s finally learning life’s lessons.
“I Know You're Right” E talks about his divorce. He just wants to apologize and make things right. He misses her and knows she is “Right,” and he is “Wrong.” He finally admits to being wrong to her, he just needed to muster up the strength to say it.
The album's meaning per song is always a strong point for the band. With every album it feels like a nice check in with E.
The background tunes with the intensity of some of the guitar riffs and drum solos is incredible.
It’s rare that an album has no flaws, but this one in particular hindered it.
E’s voice doesn’t always match the song. Like some of the lighter sounding songs his voice just sounded too gruff like it didn’t belong or other epic guitar moments his singing didn’t seem to match the surrounding sound and stood out like a sore thumb.
It also didn’t provide too much new. It felt nice to get more from him but did not live up to his classic albums like “Beautiful Freak.”
The tunes are always cool with its rawness.
It was a nice check up with E, but this album wasn’t anything new or special when it comes to Eels or any other music in general. It was rather average.
Least favorite song: "I Know You're Right"
Favorite Song: "Learning While I Lose"
Ethan Hetrick is a first-year communications major. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.