At least to me, Animal Collective's next LP Merriweather Post Pavilion was the most anticipated album release of next year. I say "was" because the holidays were made sweeter this year when it leaked on Christmas day. Upon listening through for the first time, there are a couple of remarks that need to be made.
1: This is the most easily accessible Animal Collective album. They were criticized somewhat last year because Strawberry Jam was considered by hardcore fans to be too much pop and too accessible to the public. Well, in many ways, I think Merriweather is easier to pick up than Strawberry Jam, and will undoubtedly garner more fans because of it. If you're not a fan or haven't heard of Animal Collective, this is the cd to pick up to change your mind.
2: This is the best Animal Collective album. Period. Yeah, I said it. I need to give it some time to sink in, but from start to finish this is their best effort yet. The melodies, harmonies, lyrics, and overall flow of the album is just breath-taking. They start the album sounding like Feels-era Animal Collective in "In the Flowers" until it explodes into something completely new, but not before Avey belts out "If I could just leave my body for a night." After that, the old sound of Animal Collective shows up a bit more in other songs, but for the most part is left in the past. All the way to the blissful repetition of "Brothersport," there's not a song on here that I didn't thoroughly enjoy. What else can I say? I'm in awe.
3: There's not a chance I'm posting anything from this album, what with all the hullabaloo concerning it's leak. If you download it early, make sure you do what I do and go out and buy it later. These guys more than deserve it. This is the first of the '09 albums that I've heard, so naturally, this is the best album of '09 so far. But someone's going to have to put out something equally amazing to top this, and greatness like this is hard to match.