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Music / Animal Collective

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Left to right: Deakin (bottom), Avey Tare (top), Geologist, Panda Bear
Influences: The Grateful Dead, The Beach Boys, Pavement, Sun City Girls, The Incredible String Band, Aphex Twin, The Residents, Black Dice

Animal Collective is an experimental rock band founded in Baltimore in 2000. Its lineup consists of Avey Tare (David Portner), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), Deakin (Josh Dibb) and Geologist (Brian Weitz), who have known each other since childhood and began to experiment with mind-altering drugs and psychedelic music in high school.

Because of the band's stance as a "collective", not every member of the band appears on every album (for example, Deakin is absent on Merriweather Post Pavilion and Painting With, Geologist doesn't appear on Campfire Songs and only Avey Tare and Panda Bear perform on Sung Tongs). Panda Bear has released six solo albums since 1998, and Avey Tare has three of his own. Deakin has toured with solo material of his, and released a solo album of his own in 2016.

Their music has kept psychedelic influences, but their hit album Merriweather Post Pavilion has made it more accessible to a mainstream audience without changing much of their overall sound.


  • Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished (2000), as Avey Tare and Panda Bear
  • Danse Manatee (2001), as Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist
  • Hollinndagain (2002), as Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist (live album)
  • Campfire Songs (2003), as Campfire Songs
  • Arknote  (2003)
  • Sung Tongs (2004)
  • Prospect Hummer (2004) EP
  • Feels (2005)
  • People (2006) EP
  • Strawberry Jam (2007)
  • Water Curses (2008) EP
  • Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009)
  • Animal Crack Box (2009) (live album)
  • Fall Be Kind (2009) EP
  • ODDSAC (2010) (A 55-minute "visual album")
  • Centipede Hz (2012)
  • Painting With (2016)
  • The Painters (2017) EP
  • Meeting of the Waters (2017) EP
  • Tangerine Reef (2018)
  • Bridge To Quiet (2020) EP
  • Crestone (2021) (Movie soundtrack)
  • Time Skiffs (2022)
  • Isn't It Now? (2023)

Animal Collective displays the following tropes:

  • All Drummers Are Animals: Averted. Panda Bear is easily the shyest and most introverted member of the band.
  • Anti-Love Song: A few songs on Feels are this, primarily "Banshee Beat".
  • Broken Record: "Brother Sport" from Merriweather Post Pavillion is probably the most extreme example of this, as EVERY section of the song consists of this but overall, heavy repetition of some phrase(s) is quite a defining characteristic of their songwriting. Other notable examples include just about any song from Merriweather Post Pavilion, "We Tigers" from Sung Tongs, "For Reverend Green" and "Chores" from Strawberry Jam, "What Would I Want? Sky" from Fall Be Kind, etc.
  • Careful with That Axe: "Grass" has this in the chorus.
  • Cover Version: They've occasionally done this in live performances, most notably in Purple Bottle, with some live performances of "The Purple Bottle" featuring both "I Bid You Goodnight" by The Grateful Dead as an introduction and "I Just Called To Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder as a bridge.
    • The B-side of "The Purple Bottle" white-label single features a cover of "Polly" by Nirvana.
    • On the Painting With tour, the boys cover a Motown-era hit, "Jimmy Mack" by Martha and the Vandellas.
  • Daydream Surprise: Alluded to in "What Would I Want? Sky".
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Counterexample - they don't really care about the leaking of their albums, but they get quite upset when (like in the case of Strawberry Jam) only a handful of songs were leaked at a time and fans couldn't get the full album experience.
  • Distinct Double Album: The Animal Crack Box is a distinct triple album.
  • Drone of Dread: "Two Sails on a Sound" from Ark and the live-only song "Tuvin" both exemplify this trope.
    • Fall Be Kind's "Bleed" also qualifies.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Anything before they settled on the name Animal Collective. Spirit They've Gone, Spirit They've Vanished was essentially an Avey Tare solo album with Panda Bear supplying drums, while Danse Manatee and Campfire Songs are both just plain weird.
  • Epic Rocking: They have several examples. From their albums:note 
    • Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished: Penny Dreadfuls (7:58), Chocolate Girl (8:28), La Rapet (7:52), and Alvin Row (12:39). These four songs take up around half of the album's runtime.
    • Danse Manatee: Meet the Light Child (8:44), The Living Toys (7:48), and Ahhh Good Country (8:18).
    • Hollinndagain: I See You Pan (10:24) and Pride and Fight (11:24).
    • Campfire Songs: Queen in My Pictures (9:58), Moo Rah Rah Rain (11:01), and De Soto de Son (11:34). The album itself was recorded in one non-stop take, and all the tracks are either Siamese Twin Songs or utilize Fading into the Next Song, so the album could be seen as one giant 42:11 song.
    • Ark: Infant Dressing Table (8:35), Two Sails on a Sound (12:20), and Too Soon (6:27).
    • Sung Tongs: The Softest Voice (6:46) and Visiting Friends (12:36).
    • Feels: The Purple Bottle (6:48), Banshee Beat (8:22), Daffy Duck (7:34), and Turn Into Something (6:29).
    • Strawberry Jam: For Reverend Green (6:34) and Fireworks (6:50). Those two songs are also Siamese Twin Songs, so they can be said to form a single 13:24 medley.
    • Merriweather Post Pavillion: Brother Sport barely counts at exactly 6:00.
    • Centipede Hz: New Town Burnout (6:01) and Monkey Riches (6:46)
    • The Bridge To Quiet EP consists only of this.
    • Time Skiffs: Prester John (6:29), Strung With Everything (6:56) and Cherokee (7:50).
  • Everything Is an Instrument
  • Fading into the Next Song: Their song "Graze" fades into "What Would I Want? Sky" off their Fall Be Kind EP, half of everything on Merriweather Post Pavilion fades into the next song, and "Winter Wonderland" fades into "Cuckoo Cuckoo" on Strawberry Jam. Actually, they're just fond of this trope in general.
    • All of their concerts for the past few years have had crossfades between songs, as well.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: The Who Could Win a Rabbit video, which starts off as a retelling of The Tortoise and the Hare using creepy animal costumes, and ends with the tortoise killing and graphically eating the hare.
  • Intercourse with You: "Essplode", "Grass" and especially "Good Lovin' Outside".
  • Last Note Nightmare: "Who Could Win A Rabbit" ends with about twenty seconds of...really weird looped gurgling noises. The music video makes it so much worse.
  • Live Album: Hollinndagain, unusual in that it contains only material that hasn't appeared on other albums, with the exception of "Lablakely Dress" from Danse Manatee.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Averted or subverted. Played straight on Danse Manatee and Campfire Songs, however.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: The dancer from "In the Flowers".
  • Meaningful Rename: The band's first proper album Here Comes The Indian was renamed Ark in 2020 due to the band's admittance that the album drew a lot of inspiration from indigenous culture and objectified native americans. While Ark was a working title for the album, there is also symbolism due to the fact that an ark is where the animals went before the storm.
  • Melismatic Vocals: "Leaf House" from their album Sung Tongs could be considered a particularly strange example of this.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: The cover of Merriweather Post Pavilion. It's an illusory-motion graphic.
    • The covers for "Campfire Songs," "Danse Manatee," "Hollindagain," and "Fall Be Kind" also qualify.
  • New Sound Album: Every single album of theirs does this.
  • Old Shame: Averted. The band is actually quite fond of their abrasive early work.
  • Only in Florida: "FloriDada" was inspired by this perception of Florida.
  • Precision F-Strike: Animal Collective songs very rarely contain swear words, so when they do it sounds weird and out of place. "Kinda Bonkers", "Essplode", "On A Highway"
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Avey and Panda, at least in terms of vocal delivery. Compare Avey's energetic, often unhinged style to Panda's more subdued, Brian Wilson-esque approach.
  • Sampling: Most notably on What Would I Want? Sky, which samples "Unbroken Chain" by The Grateful Dead - "Willow sky/Woah, I walk and wonder why" becomes the eponymous phrase after some smart cutting-up, but there are also several other instances in their discography.
    • Panda Bear's "Person Pitch", the most successful solo record by any member of the band, is heavily based on sampling as well.
  • Silly Love Songs: The first half of Feels, with most of the second half being understated breakup songs. Springs back with "Turn Into Something".
  • Singing Simlish
  • Step Up to the Microphone: "Wide Eyed" from Centipede Hz features Deakin on lead vocals.
  • Subdued Section: The latter half of their album Feels.
    • No More Running from Merriweather Post Pavilion definitely counts as this, bringing the album to its most subdued point, right before Brother Sport closes it.
  • Surreal Music Video: "Water Curses" especially, but all of their videos qualify.
    • Among the weirdest are those for "Peacebone" and "Brother Sport".
    • ODDSAC is essentially 55 minutes of this.
    • Let's not forget "Today's Supernatural" or "Summertime Clothes".
  • Textless Album Cover: Very common with the more recent albums. Beginning with Strawberry Jam, each album since has followed this trend.
  • Uncommon Time:
    • "Lion in a Coma" off MPP is in 9/8 time.
    • "What Would I Want? Sky" off of their Fall Be Kind EP is in 7/8 time.
    • "I Think I Can" from the same EP is in 9/8, with a section of 6/8.
    • One of the best examples of this trope is "Who Could Win A Rabbit" off of Sung Tongs. It's based in 3/4, but randomly jumps around to 4/4 and has a 5/4 bridge.
      • That same album also has "Sweet Road", which has choruses in 6/8 and verses in 13/8.
    • They seem to be fond of 3/4 time.
      • 3/4 isn't too odd; their fetish for polyrhythms is, however.
    • Most of "For Reverend Green" is in 7/4note , though the drum beat hangs on 2/4.
    • While it's still technically is 4/4, the syncopation of the drums on Did You See The Words is mad and rather difficult to count along to.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Avey Tare has described the lyrics of "Peacebone" as not being so much about a particular meaning but more "blending together visual images". In general, most of their lyrics seem to be more about the imagery or conveying certain feelings than making sense as a narrative.