For instance, it is one of the 70 albums that have so far been covered by the series of books called 33 1/3.
It is an album that has attracted perfect ratings from all sorts of music mags, blogs and from critics who write or broadcast in mainstream media. Sure, it is also an album that has quite a few critics, but one thing for certain, it is a record that has been written and talked about a great deal.
Here's a confession. Until I was browsing around in a clothing/record store in Toronto in 2007, I had never heard of the band or this record. And the thing is, it wasn't the music that first caught my attention, but the really impressive design of a green t-shirt. a little like this:-
I bought the t-shirt and then I made my way down the street to a second-hand store that I had fallen in love with and decided to buy the CD on a whim. I took it back to the apartment I was staying in at the time, gave it a listen and found myself quite bemused. There were bits I took to immediately but there were other bits that got on my nerves. I didn't know whether the rather and repetitive loud proclamation of 'Jesus Christ I Love You, I Love You Jesus Christ' were the ramblings of a religious nutter or someone so far gone in his state of lust that this was all he could scream.
I put it away for a few days and tried again. Same reaction as the first time. Great opening song called King Of Carrot Flowers (Part 1). Second song, King Of Carrot Flowers (Parts 2 & 3) is the one with the Jesus Christ references and it again threw me. After that it sort of drifted by without making much of an impression and I wondered why this was said by so many to be 'the greatest record you've never heard'.
It's now five years that I've owned the CD and I've tried at least ten times to understand just what it is that makes so many folk go nuts for it. But I just don't get it....I'll admit that there's about 5 minutes of great stuff on it but for the most part I think it's incredibly annoying, nonsensical, self-indulgent, over-wrought, nasally indie-psychedelic-tuneless folk. Here's the 5 minutes that I can cope with:-
mp3 : Neutral Milk Hotel - King Of Carrot Flowers (Part 1)
mp3 : Neutral Milk Hotel - Two-Headed Boy
Please feel free to disagree. After all, I find much of the output of The Fall to be ground-breaking, tuneful, timeless and the work of an often misunderstood genius....