one of the powerful qualities of music is its ability to deal emphatically with human brokenness, often as cathartic release as in the case of the break-up album. a much tougher issue to address, though, is the theme of aging and mortality, perhaps owing to its individual rather than relational nature that makes it so much harder to articulate, much less express lyrically and musically. mark everett, the man behind eels, combines the two uncompromisingly in his latest album end times, in managing to remain emotionally sincere without indulging in self-misery. for someone who’s had to deal with both his mother’s death and sister’s suicide just a couple of years apart (see 1998’s electro-shock blues), the reality of death could not be more pronounced. in the achingly nostalgic “in my younger days”, everett single-handedly confronts the limitations of age, and faces up to what he’s become without resorting to bitterness (now i’m a statistic/but i’m not fatalistic/i’m not yet resigned to fate/and i’m not gonna be ruled by hate). yet, the yearning for love remains ever so strong in the face of loss, something that makes growing old so very much harder. – dan.
end times is now available on their online store.