7. Eels: Electro-Shock Blues
When I first heard Eels it was in 1996. It was for the song Novocaine For the Soul. It took me a few until I truly learned to appreciate the song. Even when I finally got to appreciate the song I still wasn’t a fan of the Beautiful Freak album. It wasn’t until a few years later when I picked up their follow-up album Electro-Shock Blues.
I don’t even remember why I purchased the album to be honest. I can’t remember if it was on a list of greatest albums or just a general recommendation from someone, regardless I’m glad that I bought it.
Electro-Shock Blues is one of the most personal records I’ve ever listened too. This is mostly do to lead singer/songwriter Mark Oilver Everett coming to terms with being the last living member of his family. In 1982 his father died of a heart attack (Everett found the body), while on tour for Beautiful Freak his sister committed suicide and then his mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.
This album could be dark (and at times it certainly is) but Everett instead took these horrible moments in his life to create an uplifting album about coping with the dark points of life.
The album opens with Elizabeth on the Floor which is composed of Elizabeth’s last diary entry and dives into the darker elements of his mom’s kemo (Dead of Winter), going to his sister’s funeral (Going to your Funeral Part 1) and visiting his sister in the hospital (Climbing to the Moon).
However two songs stand out to me as the best examples of this album. On the sadder side of things you have 3 Speed. The song repeatedly questions ‘Why won’t you tell me what’s going on?’ The song juxtaposes E’s reflections to moments of his childhood and the harsh reality of his life now.
The stand out track is the closing song P.S. You Rock My World however when Everett humorously reflects back on random events on the day of the funeral. It ends with the hopeful message ‘now that everyone is dead, maybe it’s time to live’.