Tremor: 6.7, Depth: 1.3 miles, Location: 3.7 miles from Morgan Hill, CA
Animal Collective, a Brooklyn/Baltimore experimental quartet, will release their ninth studio album in a week. While they began as a band largely based around the experimentations of David Portner (Avey Tare) and Noah Lennox (Panda Bear), their sound has continuously evolved, growing more and more accessible with time, but still keeping a unique and fresh perspective on modern electronic music. However, one aspect of their music that has constantly been becoming a more well refined and important part of their compositions has been the lyrics. Even on their 5th, and breakthrough, album, Sung Tongs, which was heralded as a modern classic, the lyrics would tell abstract stories with little depth or meaning. Contrast that with the track from their new album which inspired the title of this post, “Monkey Riches”, which is a meditation on growing older and reflecting on your long term relationship. However, buried in the wonderful new track is a line that, taken out of context, has defined my past few months, and all came to a head two days ago.
“Does this not occur to almost everyone?” Two days ago, a group of friends, family, and myself all got together for the obligatory going away party. We went to a local lake and swam, used the Sea Doos, and played games on the beach. It was a great time that I expected to continue upon returning to the house. However, when we did finally get back, I noticed something odd. Some of my friends were missing. After searching the house for a good 15 minutes, I found them in the backyard, in the hot tub. While I found it just a bit odd at first, their actions perturbed me. At first they refused to leave the tub, demanding that we bring them their dinner. Finally, when we got them upstairs for long enough to eat, they did their duty, then immediately reentered the hot tub. While the other twelve or so of us were playing large group games, their only interaction was to demand more food or liquor from passersby for the next three hours, from 8 to 11PM. Finally, when we got them out of the hot tub for long enough to engage with us, everyone was distracted by other events, until I lost it. I stormed out of the party, jumped in my car, and drove around for about ten minutes.
When I returned, I found my parents outside waiting for me. I was angry, hurt, and insulted, but my discussion with them shed a very interesting ray of light onto the situation. They really didn’t understand. The three in the hot tub had no idea just how hard it would really be to be apart from them for nine months, nor did they realize what being in Jordan would mean for them. While on some level, they knew my face wouldn’t be present at so many of the gatherings that will take place, it hadn’t really sunk in yet that this would really mean a long hiatus from the lives we now share in the limited confines of Winter Break, Spring Break, and the occasional long weekend. To connect the conclusion to the introduction, it really did not occur to everyone.
My suspicions of this theory were proven that night, around 1AM, when I had to take one of those hot tub friends home. Without provocation, he apologized for the amount of time he had spent away from the party (And is still the only one of the three to have done so.) I forgave him, and explained the general theory my parents had laid out and I had concurred with. He too agreed, and we had a great discussion on what the future would hold. In the end, this was both a lesson in forgiveness, as well as an eye opener. The next line of “Monkey Riches” is, “It makes a monkey wretch. It makes a monkey rich.” Their actions may have driven me into a rage, but the very fact that they were there proves that they care, and the old adage is true. If they don’t matter, they can’t hurt you.