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Merriweather Post Pavilion (album)

Merriweather Post Pavilion is the eighth studio album by American experimental pop group Animal Collective, released in January 2009 on Domino Records. It peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard 200 and No. 2 on the US Top Independent Albums charts. According to review aggregate site Metacritic, Merriweather was the most critically acclaimed album of 2009,[5] and went on to sell over 200,000 copies by 2012.[6] It spawned the singles "My Girls" (named the Best Song of 2009 by Pitchfork and Slant Magazine), "Summertime Clothes", and "Brother Sport".

Merriweather Post Pavilion
Animal collective merriweather.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 6, 2009
RecordedFebruary 2008
StudioSweet Tea Recording Studio, Oxford, Mississippi
ProducerBen H. Allen, Animal Collective
Animal Collective chronology
Water Curses
Merriweather Post Pavilion
Animal Crack Box
Singles from Merriweather Post Pavilion
  1. "My Girls"
    Released: March 23, 2009
  2. "Summertime Clothes"
    Released: June 29, 2009
  3. "Brother Sport"
    Released: November 9, 2009

The album is named after the Columbia, Maryland venue, Merriweather Post Pavilion. A plan to perform at Merriweather Post Pavilion after the album's release in 2009 was ultimately discarded, though the band eventually did perform there on July 9, 2011.



After recording Strawberry Jam in January 2007, guitarist Deakin (Josh Dibb) decided he would take time off from the group for undisclosed personal reasons. As a result, the group went about writing a new batch of songs to be played without guitar. Drawing inspiration from Panda Bear's Person Pitch, the band used samplers as its primary instruments. The group debuted nine of these songs, most of which would later appear on the album, in May 2007 and toured with them through 2008.


To record their eighth studio album, Animal Collective sought the services of Ben H. Allen as co-producer. In an interview with the Baltimore City Paper, Allen stated that the band chose him due to "my work with Gnarls Barkley, and wanted my low-end expertise".[7] According to band-member Brian Weitz, while "[t]hat was the original attraction", Animal Collective was also impressed by his eclectic music tastes, "[h]e seemed to be somebody that technically knew how to work in [urban hip-hop], but was open-minded to other styles as well. . . . knowing that he’d been involved in a lot of the Bad Boy Records stuff from the '90s was exciting to us".[4] Subsequently, the band and Allen met over a few conference calls on Skype in January 2008, and began recording on February 1 at Sweet Tea Recording Studio in Oxford, Mississippi.[7][4]

Privacy during the sessions was paramount for the group, and a significant factor for choosing Sweet Tea. According to Allen, "During the whole month we worked on the album, the only people there were me, my assistant, and the band. No phones or computers. . . . It’s a small town, we were in the South, no one knew who they were. It was nonstop [work]".[7] The studio also offered other advantages; Dave Portner felt Sweet Tea was "the vibiest studio I’ve ever been in. It feels like you’re making music in a living room that just happens to have a Neve 8038 desk in it".[4] Further, since Animal Collective planned to record a sample-heavy album, the studio's large control room was ideal; Weitz stated, "we wanted to do most of the tracking in the same room as the engineer".[4] On Merriweather Post Pavilion, the band wanted to capture a live sound on record, just as it intended to on Strawberry Jam. However, recording methods for the two albums were very different, in Noah Lennox's words, "we went about them in totally opposite ways". While on Strawberry Jam they worked with a live foundation (over which they added few overdubs), on Merriweather... they "tracked pretty much every sound individually on its own channel, so that we’d have complete control over every sound in the mixing process".[8]

The band adopted a number of unorthodox recording practices. For instance, Animal Collective set up its PA systems in the control room in an attempt to replicate the group's live sound; Weitz said, "since so much of [the album] was electronic and sample-based, we used those PA speakers to make the samples".[4]


"The picture of the sleeve on this page is nowhere near big enough. Go look it up online, as big as you can, and stare at it very hard. See how, as you try to focus on any one part of the tessellated pattern, the sections in the periphery of your vision shift and undulate, almost alive, making it impossible to pin the image down in your mind?"

—Emily Mackay, in NME's review of the album[9]

The Artwork features an example of illusory motion, a type of optical illusion which is based on the works of Japanese psychologist Akiyoshi Kitaoka. It was compiled and packaged by Robert Carmichael of SEEN studio, who has worked for Animal Collective before and after.[10]


Animal Collective on tour promoting the album in June 2009

Merriweather Post Pavilion was announced in a cryptic update to Animal Collective's official website on October 5, 2008, an update which initially caused a great deal of confusion about the nature of the news.[11] The site was updated again on October 8 with a link to a second page showing a video of the track listing,[12] which was followed by an official announcement regarding the nature of the news on October 10.[13][14] Prior to the album's official release, a number of promotional listening parties were held in various cities across the United States and United Kingdom.[15]

On November 18, the track "Brother Sport" was leaked onto the internet by way of its inclusion in a French music podcast. The track was subsequently posted on many blogs, including Pitchfork, but was later removed virtually everywhere by the international internet policing company Web Sheriff.[16][17] On November 24, it was incorrectly reported that the band Grizzly Bear had leaked the track through their blog.[18] Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear later clarified that they had only reposted the track as many other blogs had done.[18] A low-quality vinyl rip of the album leaked online on December 25, 2008. [19]

The album was released on vinyl in the United States on January 6, 2009.[20] It was released on both vinyl and CD in the UK on January 12, and on CD and digitally in the United States on January 20.[21] Peaking at number 13 on the United States Billboard 200,[22] by 2012 the album had sold over 199,000 copies, more than twice as many as the group's previous top-seller, Strawberry Jam.[23] In 2009. It was awarded a silver certification from the Independent Music Companies Association which indicated sales of at least 30,000 copies throughout Europe. [24]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [26]
The A.V. ClubA[27]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[28]
The Guardian     [29]
Los Angeles Times    [30]
Q     [33]
Rolling Stone     [34]
Spin     [35]

Merriweather Post Pavilion was met with universal acclaim. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 89, based on 36 reviews.[25] Slant Magazine and Uncut gave the album five out of five stars.[36][37] Stephen Troussé of Uncut wrote that the album "feels like one of the landmark American albums of the century so far."[36] Andrzej Lukowski of Drowned in Sound wrote "Is Merriweather Post Pavilion the flawless album that it's been willed to be? Taken as a whole I'd say it's pretty damn close."[38] Among mixed reviews, Michael Patrick Brady of The Boston Phoenix gave the album two and a half stars out of four, arguing that the album "lacks the playfulness and spontaneity that endeared so many to this group".[39]

Pitchfork's Mark Richardson gave the album a 9.6 out of 10 rating, stating the album is "striking in its immediacy and comes across as friendly and welcoming".[32] Later that year, Pitchfork ranked Merriweather Post Pavilion 14 on their Top 200 Albums of the 2000s list and also the Album of the Year for 2009.[40] The A.V. Club's Andy Battaglia called the album a "summation and an expansion of everything Animal Collective has done so far, with a sharper focus on melody and more emboldened vocals that drive the songs."[41] Dave Simpson of The Guardian gave the album four out of five stars, declaring the album sound as "their most 'pop'" and the album itself as "a joyful, transcendent record somehow reminiscent of kids let loose in a musical sandpit."[42] Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt awarded the album an A- stating that although it "won't land the band the opening slot on a Coldplay tour", the album "cleaves closer to Person Pitch's more listener-friendly aesthetic".[43]

In their 2009 end of year coverage, UK music magazine Clash named 'Merriweather Post Pavilion' its Album of the Year, publishing an in-depth look at the album and interview with the band's Noah Lennox (a.k.a. Panda Bear).[44] Spin Magazine ranked it the best album of the year,[45] as did Entertainment Weekly and KEXP.[46] Rolling Stone placed it at 14 on their list[47] and it ranked 30th in The Wire's annual critics' poll.[48] Readers across Canada voted the album the No. 2 experimental[49] and No. 7 electro album of 2009 in Exclaim! magazine.[50] In 2010, the album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[51]

Track listingEdit

All tracks written by Animal Collective[10].

1."In the Flowers"5:22
2."My Girls"5:40
3."Also Frightened"5:14
4."Summertime Clothes"4:30
5."Daily Routine"5:46
7."Guys Eyes"4:30
9."Lion in a Coma"4:12
10."No More Runnin'"4:24
11."Brother Sport"6:00
Total length:54:44


Chart positionsEdit


  1. ^ Silva, Zach (October 15, 2013). "Animal Collective: a primer". North by Northwestern. Retrieved December 1, 2014. ... touching on unconventional psychedelic pop with their most successful album Merriweather Post Pavilion...
  2. ^ a b c Ryan, Larry (August 4, 2012). "Caught in the Net: Tune in to Animal Collective Radio". The Independent. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
  3. ^ The Quietus
  4. ^ a b c d e f Doyle, Tom. "Animal Collective: Recording Merriweather Post Pavilion". Sound on Sound. May 2009. Retrieved on November 13, 2010.
  5. ^ Jason Deitz. The Best Albums of 2009 Metacritic. December 29, 2009. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  6. ^ [1] Nielsen SoundScan
  7. ^ a b c Cummings, Raymond. "Merriweather Post Pavilion Behind-The-Scenes With Ben H. Allen Archived May 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine". Baltimore City Paper. January 15, 2009. Retrieved on November 13, 2010.
  8. ^ O'Connell, Sharon. "Animal Collective on 'Merriweather Post Pavilion'". Time Out. January 6, 2009. Retrieved on November 13, 2010.
  9. ^ Mackay, Emily. "Merriweather Post Pavillion [sic] review". NME. January 9, 2009. Retrieved on November 20, 2010.
  10. ^ a b Merriweather Post Pavilion (Vinyl sleeve). Animal Collective. London, England: Domino Records. 2009. DNO 219.CS1 maint: others (link)
  11. ^ Solarski, Matthew (October 6, 2008). "New Animal Collective Album in January?". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  12. ^ Thompson, Paul (October 9, 2008). "Animal Collective Reveal Merriweather Tracklist". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  13. ^ Thompson, Paul (October 9, 2008). "It's Official: New Animal Collective LP Coming at Us". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  14. ^ "Animal Collective Announce New Album!". Domino USA. October 9, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2009.
  15. ^ "Invitation to Merriweather Post Pavilion release party".
  16. ^ Rolling Stone Magazine, "Battle Over Online Piracy Gets a Sheriff", RS 1077, April 2009
  17. ^ Richardson, Mark (November 18, 2008). "New Music: Animal Collective: "Brothersport" (MP3)". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 1, 2009.
  18. ^ a b Thompson, Paul; Phillips, Amy (November 24, 2008). "Grizzly Bear Apologize to Animal Collective for Leak". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  19. ^ "New Album 2009: Merriweather Post Pavilion". Animals Collected. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  20. ^ "Domino USA - Albums". Domino USA. Retrieved February 1, 2009.
  21. ^ Bush, John. "Merriweather Post Pavilion". Allmusic. Retrieved March 4, 2009.
  22. ^ "Merriweather Post Pavilion". Allmusic. Retrieved March 4, 2009.
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ a b "Reviews for Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective". Metacritic. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  26. ^ Bush, John. "Merriweather Post Pavilion – Animal Collective". AllMusic. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  27. ^ Battaglia, Andy (January 20, 2009). "Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  28. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (January 7, 2009). "Merriweather Post Pavilion". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  29. ^ Simpson, Dave (January 9, 2009). "Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion". The Guardian. London. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  30. ^ Wappler, Margaret (January 20, 2009). "Album review: Animal Collective's 'Merriweather Post Pavilion'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  31. ^ Mackay, Emily (January 9, 2009). "Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavillion". NME. Archived from the original on December 20, 2011. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  32. ^ a b Richardson, Mark (January 5, 2009). "Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion". Pitchfork. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  33. ^ "Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavillion". Q (271): 114. February 2009.
  34. ^ Hermes, Will (January 22, 2009). "Merriweather Post Pavilion". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  35. ^ Beta, Andy (January 2009). "The Return of the Rave". Spin. 25 (1): 83. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  36. ^ a b Troussé, Stephen (January 5, 2009). "Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion". Uncut. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  37. ^ Keefe, Jonathan (January 19, 2009). "Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion". Slant Magazine. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  38. ^ Lukowski, Andrzej (January 12, 2009). "Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  39. ^ Brady, Michael Patrick. "The Phoenix > CD Reviews". The Boston Phoenix. Retrieved March 4, 2009.
  40. ^ Pitchfork, October 2, 2009 (October 2, 2009). "Staff Lists: The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 20-1 | Features". Pitchfork. Retrieved December 4, 2011.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  41. ^ Battaglia, Andy. "Animal Collective: Music: A.V. Club". The Onion. Retrieved March 4, 2009.
  42. ^ Simpson, Dave (January 9, 2009). "Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion". The Guardian. London. Retrieved March 4, 2009.
  43. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (January 7, 2009). "Merriweather Post Pavilion: Music Review: Entertainment Weekly". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 4, 2009.
  44. ^ "Clash Magazine's Album of 2009 | Clash Music Exclusive General". Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  45. ^ "The 40 Best Albums of 2009 | ANIMAL COLLECTIVE". Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  46. ^ "10 Best (and 5 Worst) Albums of 2009 | Movies". November 16, 2011. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  47. ^ "News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  48. ^ "2009 Rewind: Records of the Year 50–11". The Wire. No. 311. London. January 2010. p. 37 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  49. ^ Top Avant-Garde/Experimental albums in Exclaim! 2009 readers poll
  50. ^ Top Electronic albums in Exclaim! 2009 readers poll
  51. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (March 23, 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-2074-6.
  52. ^ "Pandora Archive" (PDF). August 23, 2006. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  53. ^ Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion Music Charts Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  54. ^ Animal Collective - Official UK Charts UK Albums Chart. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  55. ^ a b Merriweather Post Pavilion at AllMusic

External linksEdit