Music for the hell that lies ahead
| Reading time: 3 minutes
The music of the Eels always offered comfort in the deepest desperation. The new album comes just in time. It makes you cry. A letter of thanks to singer Mark Oliver Everett, nicknamed E.
LI mean, we’ve known each other for quite a while now, for more than twenty years. So I know You, I mean of course, although when I hear some of your songs I think that you have to know me too, somehow, telepathically.
Because how else could you sing about my very own, innermost feelings? In any case, you have accompanied me in important moments in my life. And you sang about your own life.
It all started with “Novocaine for the Soul”, back in the 90s, shortly after the death of Kurt Cobain. “Life is hard / and so am I / You’d better give me something / So I don’t die”, you sang in a voice that you could hear the total exhaustion, and in “Rags to Rags” you asked yourself about roller-like Grunge chords on how to stay on your feet after being destroyed.
Your life was full of strokes of fate, you wrote a lot of songs about it undisguised and later even an entire book called “Happy Days in Hell”. The 1998 album “Electro-Shock Blues” was made after your sister committed suicide and your mother died of cancer shortly afterwards.
In the valley of grief
At the time I loved the happy and playful single “Last Stop: This Town” and only later did I realize that it was like an over-the-top manic escape from the blackest valleys of grief and depression.
A few days after 9/11 I saw you at a concert in a Hamburg indie bar; You hid yourself with a full beard under the hood of your hoodie, looked like the cliché of an Islamist terrorist and played the dark, hard songs on your album “Souljacker”. Little did I know then that you had a cousin as a stewardess on American Airlines Flight 77, which had been piloted into the Pentagon.
Much has happened since then. For example, you became a father. Do you notice that on your records? Certainly, like everything that happens to you and what happens to all of us. You have made wonderfully euphoric records (like “Daisies of the Galaxy”, 2000), painful and wistful ones (“Hombre Lobo”, 2009) or terribly depressing ones (like “The Deconstruction”, 2018). But in each of your hells there were happy days – or at least minutes; in every depression all of a sudden, childishly simple melodies and verses full of consolation and joie de vivre and hope for a new beginning.
Your new work “Earth to Dora” comes in the middle of a global catastrophe. It has become one of your happy records; and that’s why she kept making me cry. Even in the darkest hour, she says, there are happy days.
Many thanks and best regards,
Your Richard Kämmerlings
This text is from WELT AM SONNTAG. We will be happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.