January 16, 2008

Your essential Eels, your useless trinkets (and a triple trouble new contest)

So I am back from Kauai, after the most brutal red eye flight home last night that just kicks all the vacation relaxation right outta you, back into the biting 11 degree weather. It’s sunny today here, so that’s nice, and I do have to smile at my tan peeking out from the fleece, as it reminds me of lying on Poipu Beach less than 24 hours ago, watching the humpback whales play just offshore. Seeing whales like that as they spout and breach is one of the few experiences left for grownups to spark that flicker of a childlike sense of wonderment. Those animals are incredible.

Anyways, yesterday was also notable for E (Mark Oliver Everett), the multi-instrumentalist artist behind the band Eels, because he released two new albums to the world.

Meet The EELS: Essential EELS Vol. 1, 1996-2006 is a great place to start if you know little about this stellar artist. It collects 24 tracks spanning a ten year period and 12 videos, to show first-timers who this E fella is.

The companion album goes deeper: EELS Useless Trinkets: B-Sides, Soundtracks, Rarities and Unreleased 1996-2006 has 50 hard-to-find B-sides, film contributions and unreleased tracks, and a DVD of live performance footage from Lollapalooza 2006. All the music has been digitally remastered, with new liner notes from E.

NEW TRIPLE TROUBLE CONTEST
(Please tell me which one/s you are entering for – 1, 2, or 3)

#1 – Someone wins a vinyl 7″ — limited edition (3000), signed by E, featuring two tracks – both previously unreleased:
A-side)”Climbing To The Moon” (Jon Brion remix)
B-side)”I Want To Protect You”

#2 – Someone else wins the Meet The Eels CD+DVD

#3 – A third someone wins the Useless Trinkets b-sides 2-CD+DVD

TO ENTER: E has written some gorgeously sad songs that leave me wide-eyed how someone could so precisely nail a sentiment in two or three lyrics, a few brutal scather songs, some fun and off-the-wall contributions, and several that make me want to dance. If you feel so compelled, please let’s chat about your favorite Eels song or lyric. To keep it fair for those who are new to Eels and want to be introduced, the winner will be randomly picked for each of the three prize packs, so you can win even if you can’t discuss favorites (yet). I’ll run this through Sunday or so.

TRIPLE TROUBLE OF EELS TUNES
Fresh Feeling
I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man (Prince cover, live)
I Write the B-Sides

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56 Comments »

  • “i’m gonna stop pretending that i didn’t break your heart.”
    i know it’s a little obvious…but that got me so hard the first time i heard it. it felt like a personal apology from someone in that exact situation to me…and, man, it sure helped. as much or as little as i still listen to e (and it changes from week to week, month to month) i will always be grateful for that song.

    sannellio — January 17, 2008 @ 10:28 am

  • oh, right…my address:
    sannellio@hotmail.com

    p.s. btw, love the blog and read regularly…even if i rarely comment.

    sannellio — January 17, 2008 @ 10:36 am

  • I was in love with a woman that I had no chance with. Every time I thought about my chances with her, I would hear “Jeannie’s Diary” playing in my head.

    “I don’t have a chance at writing the book. I just want to be a page in Jeannie’s Diary.”

    petsounds14@msn.com
    contest #1

    Daniel — January 17, 2008 @ 11:23 am

  • I am sort of a fan of the Eels though I don’t own hardly anything from them. I have a download of the CD “Beautiful Freak” and the song “Fresh Feeling” on the “Scrubs” soundtrack. And that’s it. I would love to be entered in Contest #2. Email me at Geoff@iowatelecom.net if I should [by some freak possibility] actually win.

    Thanks for the contest Heather and keep up the good writing.

    Geoff

    SilentGeoff — January 17, 2008 @ 11:33 am

  • Not sure if I can pick a favorite, but railroad man is the first one that comes to mind. Throw me in contest #3.

    Thanks, heather!
    jnelson@huronregional.org

    joel — January 17, 2008 @ 12:00 pm

  • Haven’t heard much of their stuff, sadly, but am loving it thus far! I’d love any of the three, but probably #1 or #3 would be best!

    antennastoheaven.wrvu@gmail.com

    Annie — January 17, 2008 @ 2:22 pm

  • I would love me some “Useless Trinkets” to go with my Strings and Daisies. Put me with the other hardcore Eels freaks in contest #3!

    My favorite song is, after long deliberation, “Bus Stop Boxer.” I love the line “Going down by the railroad tracks/where people know that they better not relax.” Very evocative of that hardscrabble environment. One tough mother of a very sensitive song.

    I also love the lyrics to “Guestlist.” They pretty much tell the story of me at every party I attended as a young man. A wonderfully accurate portrayal of alienation.

    I really enjoyed reading all these posts. Eels touch us all.

    Thanks,
    Gordon
    underthegordwalk@hotmail.com

    zillagord — January 17, 2008 @ 6:21 pm

  • God damn right it’s a beautiful day, Ahah

    Not sure if anyone has even mentioned Mr E’s Beautiful Blues. I love this song. Dark lyrics hidden either side of a fun chorus, with a sweet little melody that keep you bopping all the way through. A great song that, depsite its dark pretense, always brings a smile to my face – especially when it’s bright and sunny outside and I’ heading out for a beer with my mates.

    God damn right it’s a beautiful day, Ahah

    steve — January 17, 2008 @ 11:16 pm

  • Oh, how do you contact me

    iminhiding.blogspot.com

    stevemunachen@hotmail.com

    steve — January 17, 2008 @ 11:17 pm

  • my first eels tune was ‘novocaine for the soul’. i think what struck me most was how simple it was, musically and lyrically. the opening line, “life is hard / and so am i” cracked me up as a teenager, and the song has stuck with me since.

    thanks for all your blogging!
    i prefer contest #2.

    brandon
    theyeck zero one at hotmail dot com

    Anonymous — January 18, 2008 @ 10:05 am

  • My favorite EELS song is “THINGS THE GRANDCHILDREN SHOULD KNOW”. I love how E talks about his insecurities, like walking his dog while staring down at the sidewalk cracks, not leaving the house much and the fact that he doesn’t like being around people. It’s also interesting to point out that in the end of the song he says, “it’s not all good and it’s not all bad, don’t believe everything you read”. Very cool. I just love that song. It paints a picture into the world he lives in. Another reason I love the song so much is because I feel the same way about some of the things he talks about in the song. In a way it kinda hit home for me, kinda like, Hey, I’m not the only one who feels that way. Maybe I’m not crazy after all…then again…

    I’d like to enter contest #3 please.

    Also, I adore your website. I check it out everyday, but this is the very first time I have ever left a comment. It took the EELS to get me to do so. Thank you for all your hard work and great music.

    Scott
    smlull@wowway.com

    sml1771 — January 18, 2008 @ 10:41 am

  • I don’t know how this has happened, but I don’t have any Eels in my collection. How could this be? I sure hope I win the Essential Eels CD so I can fix this problem. :-)

    Thanks for all you do…

    Jules — January 18, 2008 @ 2:33 pm

  • For any of the contests…

    “Going to your funeral and feeling I could scream
    Everything goes away
    Driving down the highway through the perfect sunny dream
    A perfect day for perfect pain”

    – Going to Your Funeral, Pt. 1

    Heavy stuff.

    CHW — January 18, 2008 @ 3:35 pm

  • I’d be open to any of the contests…(horrorlibrary@hotmail.com)

    Ah EELS. I’m introduced so many people to their wonderful music. I’m going to their ‘warm up’ show on Feb 14th in Santa Ana and it’ll be the first time I’ve seen E perform LIVE. I’m totally stoked.

    I discovered EELS when I was going through some pretty hard and depressing times. Then I heard a little about what E had been through. Had to truly feel for the guy, to be able to have a spark of optimism inside all of that pain.

    I think one of my favorite lyrics, and it may very well have saved my life…are:

    You’re dead but the world keeps
    spinning

    From “Last Stop: This Town”

    I’d actually been contemplating suicide that day, and somehow…that beautiful song found me. Never had heard EELS before that, and this song somehow found me through some DJ on a college radio station. Incredible. I called the station and made him play it again in his next set…which he did begrudgingly.

    On a brighter note, the lyrics from “Dirty Girl” so totally remind me of the girl I fell in love with later that year and have been with every since:

    “I like a girl with a dirty mouth
    Someone that I can believe”

    And

    “Once in a while your life gets so good, Worth all the trouble of the past”

    Even though that song is ultimately about losing someone, I always took it as kind of a reminder to not let that special someone slip away.

    And, if I could claim a song as my own…a song just so damn perfect in it’s sentiment and tone that it just breaks my heart everytime I hear it…that’d be “Old Sh*T/New Sh*t”

    I won’t bother to put the lyrics down here, on paper…they lose their impact. But, if you’ve never heard the song…go find it, and listen. It’s just too beautiful.

    R.J. — January 18, 2008 @ 4:16 pm

  • “Somebody loves you”

    “Somebody loves you
    And you’re gonna make it through”

    Says it all really – I finally found someone who loves me and who made life worth living.

    pshawuk@yahoo.com

    Anonymous — January 19, 2008 @ 1:51 am

  • What a gem of a thread. I too would go for Things The Grandchildren Should Know, just about, over PS You Rock My Word and It’s A MonsterTrucker. I love these lines

    I’m turning out just like my father
    Though i swore i never would
    Now i can say that i have a love for him
    I never really understood
    What it must have been like for him
    Living inside his head
    I feel like he’s here with me now
    Even though he’s dead

    Any of the prizes would do me nicely.

    Ronan — January 19, 2008 @ 7:10 am

  • For me, P.S. You Rock My World edges out Things the Grandchildren Should Know. TtGSK is a stunning, stunning song, and it takes a hell of a lot to beat lines like:

    I knew true love and I knew passion
    and the difference between the two
    and I had some regrets, but if I had to do it all again
    well it’s something I’d like to do

    To me that’s wistful, it remembers joy and sadness all in the same piece, and ultimately there’s a pride in it because of that.

    But PSYRMW contains the following:

    I was thinking ’bout how
    everyone is dying
    and maybe it’s time
    to live…

    What clinches it is the pause between ‘time’ and ‘to live’, and the way it reinforces the shaky uncertainty of that maybe. For me, falling in love has a whiff of mortality about it (cf: “till death do us part”), and that uncertainty’s always there too. So it’s P.S. You Rock My World for me.

    #1 if I win, please, and my email: grundyn-at-gmail-dot-com

    Nick. — January 19, 2008 @ 11:43 am

  • “The clown with the frown driving down to the sidewalk fair
    Finger on the trigger let me tell you it’s quite a scare”

    This is the only eels song that i have (Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues), but i love it!

    I’ll enter contest 2. thank you!

    zack — January 19, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

  • i forgot my email
    cardswsc@yahoo.com

    zack — January 19, 2008 @ 10:25 pm

  • I think my favorite lyrics are from Ugly Love.

    “And I dream about so much it is absurd
    But when I get there and she sees me
    I’ll be impressed if she does not run screaming

    My kind of love is an ugly love
    But it’s real and it lasts a long, long time”

    He captures the pain in trying to meet someone who loves you for you, flaws and all.

    I’d like to be entered in the contest for #3. Email is long.amy@gmail.com

    amy — January 20, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

  • Contest #3 please

    nsrich22@gmail.com

    Favorite lyric has to be from PS – You Rock My World:

    A careful man tries to dodge the bullets, while a happy man takes a walk.

    Nathan — January 21, 2008 @ 1:20 am

  • oh i keep forgetting to mention…is the signed single that id be up for….

    jay strange — January 21, 2008 @ 7:38 am

  • BLinking Lights (For Me) from “Blinking Lights And Other Revelations Disc 1″
    pretty short and simple. just hoping for a better day. He leaves the song the way it started, to me it feels like the song could go on forever, like thats all you can do. Hope for a better day and hope that someone will help you when you need a hand.

    Blinking lights on the airplane wings
    Up above the trees
    Blinking down a morse code signal
    Especially for me
    Ain’t no rainbow in the sky
    In the middle of the night
    But the signal’s coming through
    One day i will be alright again
    Blinking lights on the highway cars
    Stopping one by one
    Get a look at the accident
    Didn’t see that one coming
    And the doctor in the sky
    Gonna bring his chopper down
    Gonna bring me out alive
    And set me on the ground
    Once more again
    Blinking lights on the airplane wings
    Up above the trees

    prize #3 – 2cd 1 dvd would be nice

    skippopotamus — January 22, 2008 @ 12:16 pm

  • The greatest break-up song by anyone ever is Fucker (or F#&!@r as it’s listed on Useless Trinkets). I’m not certain which version is on Useless Trinkets but the version on Oh What A Beautiful Morning is just exquisite. Just the song to help you get over a bad relationship split.

    Please enter me for contest #1 as Climbing To The Moon is one of eels’ greatest songs and to own it on vinyl would be great.

    Phillip — January 24, 2008 @ 12:59 am

  • I don’t know many Eels songs and don’t always get the lyrics (I’m French). But “Rags to Rags” certainly is a song I love very much. I’ve rarely heard so much anger and dispair put together so well in just one song. It also has a very powerful dramaturgy to it.

    I find it extremely moving when a art piece (can be a painting, a movie or a novel) is so personal and intimate that it becomes universal.

    Thanks for the blog. It’s really great. Thanks for the contest too: reading others’ comments is very interesting and makes me want to know more about Eels.

    Leonard ZELIG — January 25, 2008 @ 4:08 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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