My Top 1000 Songs #485: Song Against Sex

[Wait, where's #484? That one was written up out-of-order but updated yesterday; check it out here.]

Neutral Milk Hotel's second and final LP, 1998's In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, gets most of the attention, which isn't crazy since it's only one of the most unforgettable musical works ever recorded. Still, the band's debut LP, 1996's On Avery Island, was no slouch--comparably unique and disturbing and often deeply affecting.

Lead-off track "Song Against Sex" gets things off to an energetic, spellbinding start. There's a quick blast of noise and studio chatter to scare off the uninitiated, and then it kicks into a simple two-chord pop song fuzzed out with red-level distortion and carnival instrumentation, backing a relentless stream of Jeff Mangum's over-the-top imagery, striking and taboo. And, yeah, it's full of forbidden sex, though mostly welcomes whatever spin you want to put on it. It's simultaneously dark and inviting, abrasive yet oddly catchy.

"Threw a nickel in a fountain to save my soul from all these troubled times. And all the drugs that I don't have the guts to take to soothe my mind. So I'm always sober, always aching, always heading towards mass suicide." Yum!

Live chaos, 1998: