Neutral Milk Hotel

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

Composed by Jeff Mangum / Scott Spillane

Song Review by

To a simple arrangement of acoustic guitar supported by minimal percussion, Julian Koster's musical saw and Scott Spillane's fragmented saxophone interruptions, Jeff Mangum cheerfully sings of impending death in the title track to 1998's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. Not necessarily immediately impending death, you understand; this is the song of a young man who's recognized that someday he's going to die and is perfectly okay with that idea. Unlike the rest of the album, which can occasionally be downright harrowing in its emotional blackness, "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" is almost giddy at the thought of eternal rest: "When we meet on a cloud, I'll be laughing out loud" probably isn't the average train of thought of kid barely in his mid-20s, but it certainly beats one of Kurt Cobain's howls of existential despair.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea 1998 Merge 3:22
Songs for Summer 2000
Various Artists
Oglio Records 3:23