Top 100 Albums of the Decade: #20 Panda Bear - Person Pitch
Top 100 Albums of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one album and continue every day until December 31st, when we will unveil our #1 album of the decade!
Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.
#20 Panda Bear - Person Pitch
Some of our favorite albums hone a single emotion or a particular sensation into a beautifully shaped whole – like watching an artist carve an intricate sculpture out of ice. On the other side of the coin, Panda Bear's Person Pitch seems evocative of everything. Throwing crispness out the same door through which his musical caution escaped, Noah Lennox presents a fine muddled mess of an album. Background noises recall gradual shifts in scenery (back and forth between trains and urban sounds to water / rustling leaves). Submerged lyrics pop their head out of the reverberating atmosphere to sputter off a particularly insightful line here and there. Entire song segments sweep in from around a corner and undercut the previous arrangements entirely, like a wave carrying driftwood out to sea. It's all pieced together in a lush, swarming trance, and even the hectic parts – like the metallic hand drums that open "Good Girl / Carrots" – fold upon themselves to trigger a sort of high-speed hypnotism.
I've always described my experience with this album as nomadic, as it tends to trigger a sense of reflection that never ends where it begins. Some critics talk about albums as "emotional journeys" – usually attributing the movement to the lyricist's evolving introspection. Person Pitch is a little bit different: Lennox's lyrics are self-assured ("coolness is having courage / courage to do what's right") and relatively solid. It's the listener who's permitted to strike out toward their own mental destination, with Person Pitch as the starting point. Who knows where it's going to take you, but the magic of this album seems to be its ability to point you in a new direction each and every listen.
- Phillip Taylor-Parker
Check back tomorrow for the next album! To see the full list of the Top 100 Albums of the Decade, click here.
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