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The Many Lives Of The Eels by Alyson Camus

It is not very often that songwriters release two albums 6 months apart, but Mark Oliver Everett (the Eels) managed to release Hombre Lobo on June 2, 2009 and End Times on January 19, 2010.

The two albums are mirrors of each other and Mark Everett (Mr. E.) seems to have multi-personalities. It may be because his father, Hugh Everett, was the author of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum theory (if you haven’t seen the documentary Mark did about his father ‘Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives’ it is highly recommended). If there are many parallel universes Mark Everett indeed occupies several of them at the same time.
In Hombre Lobo,’ he is a wolfman, he bites, he is dangerous, he is not scared and he needs fresh blood. He is a hairy beast which howls to the moon to get the girl he wants:

‘On the prowl for a restless night
I got her right here in my sights’
‘You gotta pull me out of this mud
Sweet baby, I need fresh blood’

ke a dangerous predator, he is high on adrenaline and wants to get in trouble, bursting into a loud sound and rocking hard on several songs
In ‘End Times’ the beast is gone to make room for sorrow, self-loathing and broken hearts. The end of times simply refers to the end of a relationship, since it’s truly the end of the world when you lose the love of your life, to the point that if the world was really ending it would not even matter. The lyrics are raw and direct, aching with broken love, loss and isolation:

‘I pushed the bed against the window today
So there’d only be one side
Well, it’s a little less lonely that way
But I’m still dying inside’

There is this inexorable degradation of love all along the album, and even the terrorist side of a relationship:

‘Scary little suicide bomber’

It is as if he was telling us that, if it is true that only love matters, it’s not gonna be easy. At the end, all is left is memories:

‘There wasn’t no one in the world
There wasn’t nothing else
Just me and my girl’

All is left is resignation:

‘Here lies a man who just wanna be alone.’

The lyrics may be straightforward but they sound so real it’s painful.

Mr E. has parallel lives, he is a force of nature and the victim of nature, he screams man’s primal need and agonizes because of his need. He has done it before with ‘Daisies of the Galaxy’ (2000) and ‘Souljacker’ (2001), but after 4 years of silence (his previous album was released in 2005. Whether to hear about a savage man who is barking his wild and disturbing desire (Hombre Lobo) or about a vulnerable man who is mourning his failures and abandonment (End Times) it was about time to enter one of his multiuniverses again.

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