Author: Jake Fostner
Coming in seven spots too low on our list is Mount Eerie’s A Crow Looked at Me.
In his twelfth album under his Mount Eerie monicker, Washington’s Phil Elverum takes us on a journey through the end of his wife’s life, and the grieving process he and his baby child would have to go through thereafter. From the first song on the album we are made aware of the fact that “death is real.” Throughout the album’s eleven songs, spanning 42 minutes, this fact is constantly being made known to us. It is a dark album made by a man in a dark place.
With the way death is portrayed in various forms of media it can be easy to see it as some sort of grandiose event. With A Crow Looked at Me, Elverum brings us into the reality of it. The death of a loved one is a harrowing, depressing and haunting experience that cannot be truly understood until it affects you.
Musically, Elverum mimics the emptiness in his life, often opting to use only his voice accompanied by an acoustic guitar. This creates a very open landscape, leaving the listener space to fully digest what they are dealing with. This lightness in instrumentation allows the heaviness in his lyrics to come to the forefront of the songs. These lyrics, at times, sound more like diary entries or streams of consciousness, allowing Elverum to write out the demons that surround him. And arriving at the end of the album, we see that some of those demons appear to be giving Elverum a little more space. This ending gives off a slight glimmer of hope, leaving us less worried for Elverum’s future, and even our own. A Crow Looked at Me is a dark, beautiful masterpiece that will ruin your day in ways you never knew you wanted.