Animal Collective's highly anticipated Merriweather Post Pavilion concert is on Saturday night. But is the band's breakout album — named after the Columbia, Md. venue — the highlight of its extensive discography, which also as acclaimed solo efforts from members Panda Bear and Avey Tare?
For this week’s Taking sides post, we each pick our favorite albums in the greater Animal Collective catalogue.
Chris Richards: It's funny to think of an album as wild and viscous as "Merriweather Post Pavillion" as the safe or centrist pick, but alas. Animal Collective's unlikely ascent has made pop music a more imaginative place. This is the album that captures that sense of possibility and the big thrills that come with it.
Allison Stewart: I like Panda Bear, and not just because his name is adorable, although it is. Animal Collective is an adventurous crew, but he seems the one most likely to do just about anything, and that's saying a lot. "Tomboy," which I thought was surprisingly under-appreciated considering how much adoration the band gets, is tightly coiled and mostly accessible, a great mix of familiar and hopelessly avant-garde. And "Surfer's Hymn" is just amazing.
David Malitz: "Merriweather" is the masterpiece. Panda Bear's "Person Pitch" is the most transportive. But Animal Collective’s 2005 album "Feels" is the one I find myself revisiting most often. There is a wildness and sense of discovery to those songs. It strikes me as the band's "eureka!" album, when the guys reigned themselves in just enough from the experiments of their early years without losing any of the gleeful wide-eyed excitement.