It had been four years between Eels’ 2005 release Blinking Lights And Other Revelations and 2009′s Hombre Lobo. Mark Oliver Everett had taken some time to write a book, travel the globe (a few times) and make a documentary about his father. Six short months after Hombre Lobo, however, the songwriter behind the Eels moniker is back with End Times, the most personal album since Electro-Shock Blues that dealt with the death of his mother, father and sister.
Everett is no stranger to loss. With the tragedy he’s endured in his life, you’d think that breakups would be trivial. This is obviously not the case because some unnamed lady has the guy reeling. End Times is a chronicle of heartache in a dying world. It’s about an aging man losing love in a world where the integrity of humanity is decaying before his eyes. Everett says “This will be some people’s favorite EELS album and some people’s least favorite EELS album. I’m prepared for that.”
I do like End Times, but I’m not sure that any Eels fan would call this their favorite. After a few listens, I started picturing Mikey from the movie Swingers, laying in bed feeling sorry for himself.‚ I wanted to tell Everett to snap out of his self-pity and move on. Let’s hear something uplifting. That being said, for an album released 6 months after its predecessor, this is not a batch of B-Sides. It is an entirely different body of work that’s refreshing reprieve from the intensity and primal energy of Hombre Lobo. It’s a stripped down affair, recorded mostly alone in his basement, which suits the tone of this deeply personal material.
While I think End Times is good (not great) and I appreciate Everett wearing his heart on his sleeve, I struggle identifying with the theme of the album. Perhaps misery does love company and I’m just not miserable. Perhaps it’s bad timing with horrific images of Haiti’s devastation in the news every night – I mean, who wants to hear an album about a guy losing his girlfriend right now? Life could be much worse.
After all, Padma Laksmi from Top Chef was in one of his latest music videos.
Video: Eels – Little Bird