August 13: Eels released beautiful freak in 1996


Eels released their debut album, “beautiful freak” on this date in 1996. For me it was the soundtrack of fall 1996, a perfect sad pop-album, for sad Norwegian weather.

“Eccentric and quirky are the best ways to describe the Eels’ debut effort, Beautiful Freak. Concise pop tunes form the backbone of the album, yet tinges of despair and downright meanness surface just when you’ve been lulled into thinking this is another pop group, as titles like “My Beloved Monster,” “Your Lucky Day in Hell” and “Novocaine for the Soul” indicate.”
– Review by James Chrispell (allmusic)

Eels is a rock band, formed in California in 1995 by singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mark Oliver Everett (son of famous physicist Hugh Everett III). Band members have changed across the years, both in the studio and on stage, making Everett the only official member for the most of the band’s work. Often filled with themes about family, death and lost love, Eels’ music straddles a range of genres, which is shown by the distinct musical style of every album. Since 1996, Eels has made eleven major studio releases, The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett (2014) being their most recent release. 

Eels – Novocaine for the soul (live, Pinkpop 1997):

It was  the first record released by DreamWorks Records. It was largely the solo work of Mark Oliver Everett, and is his first album using the full band name Eels in trying to get the records in the same general location in the stores as his earlier works under the name “E”.

The girl who came in to have her picture taken for the cover, Elle Brosh, incidentally looked “like a miniature Susan” to Everett, a girlfriend of his a few years before and the subject of the song “Susan’s House“.  The song focuses on the problems in the area he walks through as he goes over to visit her. By the time of recording the song, he and Susan had already been apart a few years. Susan is also the subject of the song “Beautiful Freak” from the same album.

Eels – Susan’s House + Rags to rags (live NPA):

Eels – beautiful freak on Spotify:

– Hallgeir