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Music: Eels

An alternative rock group formed in California in 1995. Contains only one constant member, the founder Mark Oliver Everett. Other musicians have come and gone over the years, but Everett (affectionately referred to as E) writes nearly all the material. Eels have contributed to many movie soundtracks, including Yes-Man and the first three Shrek films.

Eels was just chosen as a name because E figured that if you went to a record store, you'd see their albums filed pretty close to the albums he'd put out as a solo artist. Once the first Eels album actually came out, he found out that the "E" and "Eels" sections were usually separated by a lot of albums by The Eagles and Earth Wind And Fire.

The band has been described as a vehicle through which E expresses his innermost thoughts, fears, and desires. This seems accurate, as the melodies and lyrics are generally very personal and introspective (especially on the most recent releases). As E wrote in his memoir Things The Grandchildren Should Know, each album reflects E's emotional state at the time he wrote the songs. Since E has led a pretty tumultuous life, the albums range from bright and optimistic to bitter and resentful.

Although Eels never really broke out into the mainstream ("Novocaine for the Soul" was a minor hit, but that's about it for them chartwise in the United States), they do have a large and dedicated cult following. The 1998 album Electro-Shock Blues, E's effort to come to terms with the deaths of his mother and sister, is usually considered his magnum opus. The latest album, The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett, was released in 2014.

Not to be confused with the ones hiding in your hovercraft.

discography
  • Beautiful Freak (1996)
  • Electro-Shock Blues (1998)
  • Daisies of the Galaxy (2000)
  • Souljacker (2001)
  • Shootenanny! (2003)
  • Blinking Lights...and Other Revelations (2005)
  • Hombre Lobo (2009)
  • End Times (2010)
  • Tomorrow Morning (2010)
  • Wonderful, Glorious (2013)
  • The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett (2014)


Eels provide examples of:

  • Alllowercaseletters: The artwork to Beautiful Freak and Electo-shock Blues stylized the band name this way. Every album after that had an all capital logo instead.
  • Audience Participation: "I Like Birds"
  • Awesome McCoolname: Koool G. Murder, the on-again, off-again bassist for the band.
  • Badass Beard: E, definitely. Also has a lot to do with the Hombre Lobo album.
  • Black Comedy: Particularly the America's Funniest Home Videos parody video for "Rags to Rags".
  • Bowdlerise: The label requested a re-dubbed "clean" version of "It's A Motherfucker", so that Daisies of the Galaxy could be sold at stores that don't carry albums with explicit lyrics. E's Writer Revolt was to change the title drop to "it's a monster trucker" and add unintelligible mock-CB radio chatter to instrumental sections.
  • Concept Album: Electro-Shock Blues and the Hombre Lobo/End Times/Tomorrow Morning trilogy.
    • Blinking Lights and Other Revelations probably counts too with a running theme of E coming to terms with all the things he's experienced.
  • Darker and Edgier: Souljacker.
  • Deadpan Snarker: E himself.
  • Go Among Mad People: Possible interpretation for some songs on Electro Shock Blues.
  • Howl of Sorrow: In The Last Time We Spoke, provided by E's dog Bobby.
  • I Am the Band: E is the only constant member, writing all the songs himself. His bandmates pretty much just follow along.
  • Intercourse with You: So, so often.
  • Long Title: "I'm Going To Stop Pretending That I Didn't Break Your Heart" and "Theme For A Pretty Girl That Makes You Believe God Exists".
  • Love Triangle: "The Look You Give That Guy"
  • Lyrical Dissonance: A lot of Eels songs are about death, rejection, or insanity- but listening to some of the melodies, you'd never know it.
  • Lyrical Shoehorn: Subverted; sometimes E ignores rhythm altogether, in order to sing the lyrics he wants; especially attention-drawing in "Things the Grandchildren should Know".
  • Moral Guardians: In one of the fundraisers for the Democratic campaign for the 2000 presidential elections copies of Daisies of the Galaxy were handed out for free. The Republican campaign jumped on the opportunity and accused the Democrats of marketing inappropriate material for children, since the album had both a cartoony cover art and obscene lyrics.
  • Obsession Song: "My Timing is Off" and several other songs on "Hombre Lobo".
  • Rearrange the Song: They like to do this in their live performances. For instance the studio version of "I Like Birds" is laid back and based around acoustic guitar and drum machine, but at concerts they tend to increase the tempo and turn it into a noisy pop punk number. There was also a spell where E would speak the lyrics of "Novocaine For The Soul" instead of singing them, although otherwise the arrangement stayed the same.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: The title of "Efil's God" is "Dog's Life" backwards (with a slight change in punctuation of course): "Dog's Life" was actually an earlier non-album track, and "Efil's God" is based around a backwards sample of it.
  • Self-Deprecation: E's lyrics feature this a lot.
  • Sesame Street Cred: They've contributed songs to the Shrek movies ("My Beloved Monster", "I Need Some Sleep", "Royal Pain") and the live-action version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! ("Christmas Is Going To The Dogs"). In Things The Grandchildren Should Know, E makes a self-effacing crack about giving his music to any film with a main character who is ornery and green.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Listen to Daisies of the Galaxy and then put in End Times.
  • Something Blues: Used a lot, in addition to "Mr E's Bautiful Blues" and song/album Electro-shock Blues, there's "Mighty Fine Blues", "Rotten World Blues", "Checkout Blues", "Grace Kelly Blues", "Restraining Order Blues" and "Paradise Blues".
  • Song Of Song Titles: The lyrics of "Hidden Track" are composed entirely of song titles suggested to E by fans.
  • Title Drop: Averted with Electro-shock Blues, although the album contains a track with the same name it doesn't feature the title.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Averted for laughs in "Going Fetal".


EaglesCreator/Geffen RecordsEnya
United States Of TaraCreator/Dream WorksJimmy Fallon
Echo & the BunnymenAlternative IndieEfterklang

alternative title(s): Eels
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