By Ryan Frick | December 15th, 2010
It has taken me a while to write this review; Eels’ Tomorrow Morning was released almost 4 months ago in August 2010, but I feel like this amount of time was necessary to truly understand and decode the iconography of Mark Oliver Everett.
The man, more affectionately known as E to most, definitely has his own way of connecting with his audience (as was seen during his tour this past fall), and his latest release doesn’t stray too far from the classic formula
Tomorrow Morning marks the third and final album of the “concept album trilogy” that began with 2009′s Hombre Lobo and continued with the acoustic, lo-fi offering End Times. This trilogy of albums — all released in just over one calendar year — has seen E writing from a variety of places in his life, and most of the time, these were dark, introspective places.
Hombre Lobo dealt with the power of humanistic desire, while End Times was inspired by the power and finality of loss. Both of these albums came complete with poignant moments of reflection and catharsis. In this sense, Tomorrow Morning is no different. However, this release shows E in a completely different place in his life, as the album is marked with optimism and enthusiasm for the future. For evidence of this, look no further than the title of the lead single from the album, “Looking Up.”
At first listen, I concluded that this was not my favorite Eels album. And after repeated listens, this may still be the case. However, it is an album that can easily be describe as refreshing. It’s refreshing to hear E coming from a sunnier place in his life, and its nice to see the classic Eels formula set in a warmer environment.
The 14 songs that comprise the album also show how E can weave new and unique textures into his normal musical compositions. Tomorrow Morning can most definitely be described as “beaty,” and is marked by moments of poppy synth and electronic experimentation. The usual melodies and catchy hooks are there also, and so are the lyrical confessions (they just make you feel good this time).
The album really hits its stride beginning with the unique electro-infused “Baby Loves Me” and continues E’s optimistic rejuvenation with the aptly placed “This is Where it Gets Good.” Three tracks, to me, really sum up the tone of Tomorrow Morning. They are synth-pop moments of “After the Earthquake,” the catchy pop grandeur of “Oh So Lovely” (my favorite track), and album closer “Mystery of Life.”
The album may not be my favorite of Eels’ catalog, but is an album that can easily be described as great. It fits perfectly into E’s discography and is a solid end cap to his trilogy of current albums. Most of all, Tomorrow Morning continues Eels’ trend of making real thoughtful, meaningful pop music. This is what I look for when listening to Eels, and I most assuredly found it here again. Be happy E, be happy.