Animal Collective, 'Merriweather Post Pavilion'

The Clash Essential 50, in a nutshell: the 50 greatest, most significant, downright brilliant albums of Clash’s lifetime. We need them, which means you, too, most probably need them.

Why? Clash celebrates its fifth birthday in April. It’s not an anniversary to make too much of a fuss about – we’ll save that for our tenth, thank you very much – but worth marking all the same. And what better way to look forward to the next few years of Clash than a look back at some of our ‘greatest hits’.

The Clash Essential 50 was compiled by the core Clash editorial team – should you disagree with any of our selections, which will be counted down throughout April, you know where to go to have your own opinion heard.

For the top ten, we focus on one album at a time – y’know, because they’re the best of the best. Starting now. Catch up with previous countdown articles via the below links…


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Animal Collective, ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’
(2009; Domino)

When approaching the Clash Essential 50, us editorial sorts had to play something of a guessing game, attempting to predict which 2009 releases would still, some months and years down the line, warrant their place in this list. The Horrors, maybe, but we didn’t have a copy of ‘Primary Colours’ at the time the list came together. Little else has really made enough of an impact, so far. So: here we have our only entry from this year.

Released in January, Animal Collective’s eighth studio album was their most rabidly received by critics, who celebrated its accessibility – an aspect not immediate on its preceding brace of ‘Feels’ and ‘Strawberry Jam’, although both of those LPs could conceivably sit in this position; a lot came down to the mood of Clash’s team on the day – and wonderfully rich textural ambience. Oh, and the way the record flowed from piece to piece, segued so that its cadence was smooth and intoxicatingly complete. And…

Well, truth be told you might as well click to the ClashMusic review of the record, HERE, for more. A sample, for the newbies…

“Animal Collective never sit still; their music is theirs alone, influential but impossible to imitate like more-conventional indie-rock. It’s instantly recognisable for its uniqueness, a mark of the truly inspired. The band’s members – Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Geologist and Deakin – seem to have their own language, one that’s understandable to the heart, but the head’s often bamboozled. You let it take you where it will, rather than direct it via iPod shuffles or stereo skips.

“Is ‘Merriweather…’ their best-ever album, as some are saying? Considering the band’s prolific nature it’s surely too early to say a high watermark has been reached, but this record does lay down a considerable challenge to the year’s artists of expectation. Here, Animal Collective have crafted a piece of art that’s as near-flawless as the most sparkling diamond: if a powerful microscope was brought into the equation no doubt specks of imperfection would be evident, but to the naked eye there’s not one misstep worth flagging. That’s if there’s one at all.”

Yeah: it’s pretty amazing, is what we’re saying. You probably need it in your life. Okay, no probably about it.

Animal Collective – ‘My Girls’

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The Clash Essential 50 so far…

50: The Killers, ‘Hot Fuss’
49: Kasabian, ‘Kasabian’
48: Deerhunter, ‘Microcastle’
47: Bat For Lashes, ‘Fur and Gold’
46: Vampire Weekend, ‘Vampire Weekend’
45: MGMT, ‘Oracular Spectacular’
44: Portishead, ‘Third’
43: Elbow, ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’
42: Amy Winehouse, ‘Back To Black’
41: Santigold, ‘Santigold’
40: Late Of The Pier, ‘Fantasy Black Channel’
39: Sigur Rós, ‘Takk…’
38: Efterklang, ‘Parades’
37: Liars, ‘Drum’s Not Dead’
36: The White Stripes, ‘Get Behind Me Satan’
35: Hot Chip, ‘The Warning’
34: Fleet Foxes, ‘Fleet Foxes’
33: Benga, ‘Diary Of An Afro Warrior’
32: Feist, ‘The Reminder’
31: Broadcast, ‘Tender Buttons’
30: Battles, ‘Mirrored’
29: Klaxons, ‘Myths Of The Near Future’
28: Tunng, ‘Mother’s Daughter And Other Songs’
27: The Libertines, ‘The Libertines’
26: Kanye West, ‘The College Dropout’
25: Apparat, ‘Walls’
24: Burial, ‘Burial’
23: Gallows, ‘Orchestra Of Wolves’
22: Caribou, ‘The Milk Of Human Kindness’
21: Broken Social Scene, ‘Broken Social Scene’
20: Sufjan Stevens, ‘Illinois’
19: Soulwax, ‘Nite Versions’
18: The Bug, ‘London Zoo’
17: Brian Wilson, ‘SMiLE’
16: Isolée, ‘We Are Monster’
15: My Morning Jacket, ‘Z’
14: Franz Ferdinand, ‘Franz Ferdinand’
13: Joanna Newsom, ‘Ys’
12: Modeselektor, ‘Hello Mom!’
11: Bloc Party, ‘Silent Alarm’
10: Animal Collective, 'Merriweather Post Pavilion'

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