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Merriweather Post Pavilion is the eighth studio album by Animal Collective, released on January 6, 2009. The album is named after the Columbia, Marylandmarker venue of the same namemarker. In an interview preceding the release of the album, Panda Bear stated that Merriweather Post Pavilion is the band's best-recorded album. At nearly 55 minutes in length, the album is their longest since their debut, Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished.

The download coupon card included with the initial vinyl release explains the album's name:
Merriweather Post Pavilion is an outdoor music venue in a place called Symphony Woods in Columbia, Maryland.
It was designed by Frank Gehry in the 1960's, and they've been having concerts there from 1967 up through today.
We used to go to shows there while growing up and have fond memories of times spent on the lawn.
For most of the time we've been playing together, both in Animal Collective and the years before, we've tried to make music that would be deserving of an amazing outdoor listening experience.
As both a name and a place, Merriweather Post Pavilion represents this for us.

The optical illusion cover art is based on the works of Japanese psychologist Akiyoshi Kitaoka.

Recording history

After recording Strawberry Jam in January 2007, Deakin (Josh Dibb, guitarist) decided he would take time off from the group for undisclosed personal reasons. As a result, the group went about writing a new batch of songs to be played without guitar. Drawing inspiration from Panda Bear's Person Pitch, they used samplers as their primary instrument. They debuted nine of these songs, most of which would later appear on the album, in May 2007 and toured with them through 2008. The album was recorded in February 2008 with Ben Allen at Sweet Tea Studios in Oxford, Mississippimarker.

Release history

Merriweather Post Pavilion was announced in a cryptic update to Animal Collective's official website on October 5, 2008, an update which initially caused a great deal of confusion about the nature of the news. The site was updated again on October 8 with a link to a second page showing a video of the track listing, which was followed by an official announcement regarding the nature of the news on October 10. Prior to the album's official release, a number of promotional listening parties were held in various cities across the United States and United Kingdom.

On November 18, the track "Brother Sport" was leaked onto the internet by way of its inclusion in a French music podcast. The track was subsequently posted on many blogs, including Pitchfork, but was later removed virtually everywhere. On November 24, it was incorrectly reported that the band Grizzly Bear had leaked the track through their blog. Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear later cleared up the story, stating that they had only reposted the track as many other blogs had done.

The album was released on vinyl in the United States on January 6, 2009. It was released on both vinyl and CD in the UK on January 12, and on CD and digitally in the United States on January 20. The album peaked at number 13 on the United Statesmarker Billboard 200.


Initial critical response was overwhelmingly positive. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 89, based on 36 reviews. Despite its January release, initial critical response proclaimed it one of the best albums of 2009. Slant Magazine and Uncut gave the album five out of five stars. Stephen Troussé of Uncut wrote that the album "feels like one of the landmark American albums of the century so far." Andrzej Lukowski of Drowned in Sound wrote "Is Merriweather Post Pavilion the flawless album that it's been willed to be? Taken as a whole I'd say it's pretty damn close." Amongst negative reviews, Michael Patrick Brady of the The Boston Phoenix gave the album two and a half stars out of four, arguing that the album "lacks the playfulness and spontaneity that endeared so many to this group".

Reviews noted the album is Animal Collective's most accessible, as well as a culmination of their previous work. Many have said it is Animal Collective's most Beach Boys-like album, and in this sense an easier listen than most of their earlier, more avant-garde work. Pitchfork Media gave the album a 9.6 out of 10 rating, their highest score for a new release since Arcade Fire's Funeral five years before, stating the album is "striking in its immediacy and comes across as friendly and welcoming".. Later that year, Pitchfork ranked Merriweather Post Pavilion 14 on their Top 200 Albums of the 2000s list. . The A.V. Club called the album a "summation and an expansion of everything Animal Collective has done so far, with a sharper focus on melody and more emboldened vocals that drive the songs." Dave Simpson of The Guardian gave the album four out of five stars, declaring the album sound as "their most 'pop'" and the album itself as "a joyful, transcendent record somehow reminiscent of kids let loose in a musical sandpit." Entertainment Weekly awarded the album an A- stating that although it "won't land the band the opening slot on a Coldplay tour", the album "cleaves closer to Person Pitch's more listener-friendly aesthetic".

Track listing

Chart positions

Chart (2008) Peak

Australian ARIA Albums Chart 63
UK Albums Chart 26
U.S. Billboard 200 13
U.S. Top Independent Albums 2
Spanish Record Charts 86




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