Me: Yeah Coop?
Cooper: You have got to hear this song. It’s my new favorite. I can’t stop listening to it. Like, cannot stop listening to it.
Me: Wow, what is it? Who’s it by?
Cooper: It’s by my Fisher Price fire truck. It is so good. I have to dance when I hear it! Here, listen.
Me: That’s a pretty good song!
Cooper: Let’s listen to it again.
Cooper: I love the horns. What is it, a trombone?
Me: Yeah, I think so.
Cooper: And the whistles and honks. Everything is expertly placed. It’s genius!
Me: You know who you might like?
Me: Neutral Milk Hotel.
Cooper: Do they have songs like this? Because this is a revelation. Let’s listen to it again.
Me: They kind of have songs like this, here and there. They use trombones and other horns and fun instruments like bagpipes.
Cooper: Yeah, I want more of that.
Me: Here’s a song. It’s called “Song Against Sex.”
Cooper: What’s sex?
Me: It’s something Neutral Milk Hotel is against.
- Neutral Milk Hotel: Song Against Sex
Cooper: This sounds terrible. The production quality, I mean. Did you record this off the radio on your tape deck?
Me: How are you able to make those references?
Cooper: I don’t really know! Maybe one of my past lives is seeping through.
Me: Oh, so you believe in reincarnation. You might like their other album more.
Cooper: This guy is wordy.
Me: Yeah but that’s part of the fun. His lyrics are wild. Really surreal. The first lines are “And the first one tore a picture / of a dead and hanging man / who was kissing foreign fishes / that flew right out from his hands.”
Cooper: Awesome that you’re playing me a song about a dead and hanging man.
Cooper: That’s sarcasm. I’ve learned sarcasm.
Me: A developmental milestone!
Cooper: I see you know sarcasm too. What are these lyrics? Is he singing about the end of days? Dad, this is some macabre stuff. I think that I too am against sex, if this is what sex is.
Me: Yeah, really I was playing this for you because of the horns.
Cooper: Speaking of—where are the horns?
Me: They’re coming in right now.
Cooper: This song doesn’t touch my fire truck. Over a minute in and the horns are just hitting? My fire truck song is ten seconds long and it’s all awesome. Let’s listen to that instead.
Me: Okay okay. Maybe you’ll like this other one better. It’s from their second album, In the Aeroplane over the Sea.
Me: Yeah, planes!
Cooper: I love planes. Can you take me outside so I can point at planes?
Me: In a minute. Listen to this song.
- Neutral Milk Hotel: Holland, 1945
Cooper: It’s kind of the same thing. Still sounds awful. Is that even a guitar?
Me: It’s just an aesthetic choice! Go with it. The horns come in a little sooner on this one.
Cooper: Hmm, very mariachi.
Cooper: Sort of a different style from what I’m used to. What I’m used to being the fire truck song.
Me: You gotta open your horizons. Maybe you'd like Beirut?
Cooper: Ugh, faux Eastern European gypsy bullshit.
Cooper: Dad, these songs pale in comparison to the fire truck song. That song is straight and to the point and fun and boisterous. This guy is whiney and has a voice like a dirty diaper.
Me: He’s an acquired taste I suppose.
Cooper: Also there’s way less horns in these songs than you promised there would be.
Me: I’m realizing that as I play them for you. In my mind I really associate that long, clownish sort of trombone sound with this band.
Cooper: It’s not like that in reality though. It’s really just all about Mr. Hard Poops whining forever.
Me: One last song—an instrumental.
Cooper: Fine. But then we listen to the fire truck again. Eight times.
- Neutral Milk Hotel: Untitled
Me: This one’s more about the bagpipes than the trombones.
Cooper: Weird. Weird! Weird! I am attracted to this and yet it kind of scares me. This is like the musical equivalent to our ceiling fan. I love it but I'm also uncomfortable and unsure.
Me: No, it’s great!
Cooper: Are those trombones coming in there?
Me: Yes, trombones!
Cooper: This is kind of fun!
Me: I knew you’d like it!
Cooper: Okay but now let’s play the fire truck.