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Animal Collective is an experimental indie rock band that has been pushing the boundaries of the genre since their inception in 2003. With their unique blend of psychedelic soundscapes, intricate harmonies, and unconventional song structures, they have established themselves as one of the most innovative and influential acts of the 21st century. Over the years, the band has released several critically acclaimed albums and has developed a dedicated fan base that spans the globe. When it comes to choosing the best Animal Collective songs of all time, it’s difficult to narrow down their extensive discography. However, there are certain tracks that stand out for their musical brilliance, emotional depth, and overall impact on the band’s legacy. From the euphoric energy of “Brother Sport” to the haunting beauty of “Prospect Hummer,” each song showcases the band’s range and ability to create something truly unique. Other standout tracks include the hypnotic rhythms and soaring harmonies of “Peacebone,” the dreamlike textures of “Leaf House,” and the pulsating energy of “What Would I Want? Sky.” Each song is a testament to the band’s creativity and willingness to take risks, resulting in a sound that is both daring and deeply satisfying. For fans of Animal Collective, these songs represent the very best of what the band has to offer and continue to inspire and delight listeners today.
1. “Brother Sport”
“Brother Sport” is a song by Animal Collective, an experimental pop band from Baltimore, Maryland. It was released on their eighth studio album, “Merriweather Post Pavilion,” in 2009. The song is a high-energy, upbeat track that features layers of vocals, drums, and electronic sounds. The lyrics explore themes of brotherhood, spirituality, and the connection between humans and nature. The song starts with a simple drum beat and gradually builds up with layer upon layer of percussion, vocal harmonies, and electronic sounds. The chorus is a sing-along anthem, with the repeated phrase “open up your, open up your, open up your throat” encouraging listeners to let loose and embrace their emotions.
2. “For Reverend Green”
“For Reverend Green” is a song by Animal Collective, released on their 2007 album “Strawberry Jam.” The track features a driving rhythm and a mix of acoustic and electronic instrumentation, including an electric guitar riff that dominates the song. The lyrics are cryptic and abstract, exploring themes of violence, nature, and spirituality. The song starts with a series of percussive hits before launching into a propulsive beat that drives the rest of the track. The lyrics are delivered in a rhythmic, almost rapped style, with the repeated refrain “What would I want? Sky” serving as a sort of mantra.
“Grass” standout tracks from Animal Collective, a band known for their experimental and unique sound. “Grass” was released in 2005 on their album “Feels” and is a perfect example of the band’s signature style. The song is a sonic adventure, with layer upon layer of sound building and interweaving to create a complex and mesmerizing soundscape. The lyrics are poetic and enigmatic, with lines like “Oh I saw you in the sun / I saw you in the grass / It’s true, love, it’s true” that hint at deeper meanings. The vocals are also a highlight, with the band members taking turns singing and harmonizing in a way that is both playful and haunting.
“Peacebone” is another standout track, released in 2007 on the album “Strawberry Jam”. The song is a frenetic burst of energy, with pounding drums, distorted guitars, and an infectious vocal melody. The lyrics are surreal and abstract, with references to “monkeys throwing knives” and “dripping faucets”. Despite the bizarre imagery, the song is undeniably catchy and will get stuck in your head for days. The production on “Peacebone” is also noteworthy, with the band using a variety of unconventional recording techniques to create a sound that is both organic and otherworldly.
5. “What Would I Want? Sky”
“What Would I Want? Sky” was released in 2009 and features a sample from the Grateful Dead’s “Unbroken Chain,” making it the first song to have a licensed sample of a Grateful Dead track. The song starts with a tribal drumbeat that is soon accompanied by intricate electronic sounds and layered vocals. The lyrics are abstract and dreamlike, with lines such as “Hold my hand, sing a song, steal a kiss, where did we go wrong?” The song builds to a frenzied climax with a repeating chant of “Will you be my bloody Valentine?”
6. “Summertime Clothes”
“Summertime Clothes,” released in 2009, has a more upbeat and pop-oriented sound than “What Would I Want? Sky.” The song’s catchy chorus features lead singer Avey Tare’s distinctive falsetto vocals over a thumping bassline and shimmering synths. The lyrics describe a summertime romance, with lines like “I want to walk around with you” and “I want to take you to the real thing.” The music video for the song features the band members in animal costumes dancing in a colorful, psychedelic landscape.
7. “Leaf House”
“Leaf House” is a track from Animal Collective’s album “Feels,” released in 2005. The song features an upbeat melody with a folk-like quality, incorporating acoustic guitars, chimes, and handclaps. The lyrics are whimsical and abstract, revolving around a house made of leaves and a desire to live in a more natural, idyllic world. The song gradually builds in intensity, with layers of vocal harmonies and instrumentation adding to the overall texture.
8. “Prospect Hummer”
“Prospect Hummer” is a collaboration between Animal Collective and singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan, released in 2005. The track features Bunyan’s delicate, airy vocals over a sparse, acoustic guitar-based instrumental. The lyrics are impressionistic and poetic, evoking images of nature and the passage of time. The song’s production is minimalistic, with subtle touches of percussion and strings adding to the dreamy, ethereal atmosphere. The track has been praised for its haunting beauty and the complementary nature of Bunyan’s and Animal Collective’s unique styles.
“Applesauce” is a track from Animal Collective’s 2012 album “Centipede Hz.” The song features a unique blend of tribal percussion, playful synths, and psychedelic vocals. The track opens with a tribal drum pattern, and as it progresses, various layers of sound are added, creating a dense and mesmerizing soundscape. Lyrically, “Applesauce” is open to interpretation, but it seems to explore themes of nature, growth, and change. The song’s refrain, “Our love is like the border between Greece and Albania,” may be a metaphor for the ways in which relationships can be both beautiful and fraught with conflict and tension.
10. “My Girls”
“My Girls” is a hit single by American experimental pop band Animal Collective, released in 2009. The song is an upbeat, vibrant anthem that captures the band’s signature sound, blending elements of folk, psychedelia, and electronic music. “My Girls” features prominent use of synths, drum machines, and layered vocals, creating a dreamy and hypnotic atmosphere that is both nostalgic and futuristic. The lyrics focus on themes of family, home, and finding a sense of belonging in a chaotic world, with the catchy refrain “I just want four walls and adobe slabs for my girls.”