Neutral Milk Hotel Albums Ranked

Neutral Milk Hotel was an American rock band formed in Ruston, Louisiana, by musician Jeff Mangum. The band’s music featured a deliberately low-quality sound, influenced by indie rock and psychedelic folk. Mangum was the band’s lyricist and wrote surreal and opaque songs that covered a wide range of topics, including love, spirituality, nostalgia, sex, and loneliness. He and the other band members played a variety of instruments, including nontraditional rock instruments like the singing saw, zanzithophone, and uilleann pipes. While on tour, the band’s newfound stardom through the Internet had a negative effect on Mangum, and his mental health began to deteriorate. He did not want to continue touring, and Neutral Milk Hotel went on hiatus shortly after. During the hiatus, Neutral Milk Hotel gained a cult following, and the critical standing of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea rose tremendously. Several music outlets such as Pitchfork and Blender called In the Aeroplane Over the Sea a landmark album for indie rock, and one of the greatest albums of the 1990s. Many indie rock groups such as Arcade Fire and The Decemberists were influenced by Neutral Milk Hotel’s eclectic music and earnest lyrics. Neutral Milk Hotel reunited in 2013, and underwent a reunion tour before another hiatus in 2015. Here are all of Neutral Milk Hotel’s albums ranked.

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6. Hype City Soundtrack, 1993

Neutral Milk Hotel - Hype City Soundtrack Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

“Despite being a relatively uninteresting release, the high points on this album truly make it worthwhile for me. We have amazing versions of “Gardenhead” and “Engine”, both of which are my favorites out of the countless live and recorded versions that exist. Jeff Mangum is at some of his rawest on this tape, and this cozy collection of recently-formed songs feels like a fun little project that shouldn’t be taken with the same seriousness of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, or On Avery Island. Hype City Soundtrack is eccentric, delightful and at points a chore to listen to, but, as previously mentioned, the high points allow for a fantastic look at the beginnings of one of Elephant 6’s most iconic and important bands.”

5. Invent Yourself A Shortcake, 1991

Neutral Milk Hotel - Invent Yourself A Shortcake (Full Album) - YouTube

“This is my favorite piece of Jeff mangum’s, and one of my favorite albums of all time. The demos on here are so interesting and paint such a weird picture of their lives, it feels so insanely personal. You feel like he handed you this and said “sorry there’s some other stuff on there, just skip past it to get about 2 minutes in” but you dont skip any of it because holy shit it sounds really cool.”

4. Neutral Milk Hotel Box Set, 2011

Neutral Milk Hotel Box Set - Music

“Neutral Milk Hotel are an artistic package with music lyrics and artwork which have been preserved at some point in time, trapped in a moment somewhere on an alternate timeline that skewed off from that which we exist on. Listening to the small discography makes me wish I had gone with them when they disconnected themselves from us.”

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3. Ferris Wheel On Fire, 2011

Ferris Wheel on Fire by Neutral Milk Hotel | This Is My Jam

“Completely amazing vocal performance, these notes just sorta go on without losing their weight or emotion. one thing about Neutral Milk Hotel is that sound, and this reflects that perfectly. banger after banger, precisely paced ep”

2. On Avery Island, 1996

Neutral Milk Hotel: On Avery Island Album Review | Pitchfork

“Maybe it’s because more people are listening to this digitally than on record, or maybe it’s that Aeroplane is more commercial, or maybe it’s that most people are just thick, but man–this album blows Aeroplane out of the water. It’s so personal and real. No E6 orchestra weighing everything down. Less monotonous melodies. Overdriven 4-track guitar. Jeff’s Mo Tucker-esque drumming. I think it’s the greatest of all E6 albums–only Olivia’s singles come close. Well, maybe Dream In Sound and Back To the Web, but for different reasons.”

1. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, 1998

Review: Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea | SPIN

“An absurd collage of penny-arcade alternative and hyperventilating surrealism, sorrow and madness just about held in check by the fuzz guitars, the lyrical bite, the horns, the harmonicas and the percussive saw on the title track. The listener benefits more by listening closely than from just slapping it on as background music; despite its drooling nostalgia, intertwined with more than a little angst, it’s a rewarding and sometimes downright lovely album”