Top Albums of 2007: #12. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam

#12. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam

The only reservations I still have about SJ as the next album in Animal Collective's discography is the seemingly complete move into audible and recognizable vocals and lyrics. This seems like an odd bone to pick, but it's my main contention with the album.

On the whole, Strawberry Jam is nowhere near as good as Sung Tongs. But I can honestly say this about 99.999% of albums I've ever heard, so it's not that much of a put-down. Luckily, I also think that SJ is stronger full album than Feels.

Where Feels' filler ("Daffy Duck" and "Bees" especially) really dragged the pace of the album downward, Strawberry Jam is free of spacey clunkers. In fact, the most obvious criticsm of SJ is that it seems to reject a lot of Panda Bear's more subtle sonic influences. This can definitely be attributed to Panda Bear's focus on his own solo material, but it's still an unnerving development.

In the end, the album's best songs "Fireworks", "Derek", and "Winter Wonderland" far outweigh anything negative I have to say about the album. It settles quite nicely into Animal Collective's "maturing" discography.

(download it here)

Nathaniel Tyson

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