Eels: A World Of Futile Yearning

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Thursday's Pick

  • Song: "In My Dreams"
  • Artist: Eels
  • CD: Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire
  • Genre: Pop
Eels 300

In Eels' "In My Dreams," Mark Oliver Everett infuses his every word with doubt, disappointment and unrequited desire. courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption courtesy of the artist

Before he began recording under the name Eels, Mark Oliver Everett released a pair of wryly dark solo albums under the name E. The title of E's first nationally released single, from 1992, summed up a worldview that's propelled him through the long and fascinating career that followed: "Hello Cruel World." That sort of openhearted pessimism has served Everett well over the years, and it continues in earnest on Eels' new Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire.

Everett's dusky croon radiates futile yearning in "In My Dreams," which finds our hero praising a perfect love: "Whatever's wrong with me," he sings, "her kiss redeems." It wouldn't take a shrewd judge of nuance to sort out where the song is going from there, even if the song weren't called "In My Dreams," in part because Everett does such a tremendous job of infusing his every word with doubt, disappointment and unrequited desire.

There's a reason Eels' songs so often play over movie montages: It doesn't take more than a couplet or two for a song like "In My Dreams" to tell a rich story. As Everett lets his gentle fantasy unfold in detail — "That was the funnest day / Her sad eyes beamed" — the song earns every bit of the affection its narrator craves.

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