Zack: We seem to have hit a run of really, really good albums lately, and Beautiful Freak is no exception. Seriously, I should say right up front that I absolutely adored this album after a single listen. I don’t really know why, precisely. But this album just seemed to have such…vision. Each song sounds like it is exactly as it was meant to, and it all comes together to form a project that feels exactly as intended. It doesn’t sound terribly different than a lot of alternative and indie albums from that era. But Beautiful Freak was pretty much a perfect example of everything those genres have to offer. Seriously, I loved this album. I immediately started playing it again from the top once it had finished, and only partially to drown out the episode of Below Deck that Emily was watching at the time. I am definitely going to be listening to this album a lot for the next week, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in my top 5 for albums 400-500 when we get to that point.
Favorite Tracks: Guest List; Mental; Novocaine for the Soul
Emily: Honestly, I only picked this album because I thought Eels was a funny name for a band. I had no idea how it would sound; frankly, I thought it would be one of those obscure albums that make me wonder how they made it on the list at all. Although Beautiful Freak is somewhat obscure, after a listen I definitely understand how it earned its place on the list. As Zack said, it's an excellent embodiment of the mid-'90s, post-grunge alternative-pop-rock sound. The music is deceptively catchy, and each song tells a story. It's also a remarkably consistent album, although I found the back half to be stronger. Overall, Eels exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations, and I hope to encounter more of them, or others like them, in the future.
Favorite Tracks: Mental; Your Lucky Day in Hell; Flower