It's amazing when you suddenly realize that you have been journeying with a particular person's creativity for a long time, and that it has been woven into the fabric of your life as a resource for one's own reflections and interactions with the business of living. This is very much the case with Eels, the band that functions as the creative outlet for Mark Everett, I own all his albums and they stretch back over twenty years.
His latest release, Eels perform the Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett, came out this past Tuesday and was pretty much recorded before his last release but then shelved in favour of perhaps a more upbeat selection of songs. And there is no doubt that this collection is haunted by a significant level of loss and pain, although that is hardly knew to any fans of his music. The tragic aspect of his life has been recounted many times and his ability to process those dark threads with brutal honesty and emotional openness is what makes his music so appealing to me.
Cautionary Tales is a song cycle chronicling a lost love and as such it strikes a major nerve for me right now. The lyrics expose all the aspects of a broken relationship-the things said, the things left unsaid, the undoing and untying, the bonds that can't be broken in spite of circumstance, it's a beautiful and very raw.
Although his work can be brutally honest and process incredibly painful things like the loss of a family member to cancer, as in the song below, which is a favourite of mine, there are very upbeat and beautiful features to botht the music and the man-to see him/them live, is a wonderfully uplifitng and he is far from morose and introverted. Anyway, wanted to mention this new release, it shouldn't be missed, but I'm going back to listening to it now.
“The thing I felt was lacking on the first version was that there was enough of me pointing the finger at somebody else, but there wasn’t enough of me pointing the finger at myself. Then I realised that it should become a record about taking responsibility. Because I realised that in the end, the only thing that any of us can change is ourselves; there’s nothing you can do about anything outside of yourself. So that became the key to the record.”