Track This: Eel's "Not Ready Yet"
In "Not Ready Yet," E sings, "If I leave my room, don't you tell me to lighten up / Maybe sometime sooner or later / But I don't think I'm ready yet / I'm not feeling up to it now." The track rises to a crescendo while the narrator addresses those who want him to face the world. He will when he's damn good and ready. The music is more amplified than much of the later Eels output, yet it still tends toward the tragic and beautiful. The keyboard and drums anchor the music, before the lead guitar kicks in to overdrive, building and swirling in moments of electric bliss.
Beautiful Freak remains a love letter to dissolute sadness and pain tinged with a slight sense of hope. In "Not Ready Yet," the narrator allows for hope that he will make it out of his bad situation. Other tracks like the equally dour "Rags to Rags" and "Mental" elaborate on this theme. The title track, "Spunky," and "Flower" all offer other kinds of redemption. Post-Grunge wankery wasn't all that was going on in 1996 -- Beautiful Freak still rewards repeat listens.