Cherry Peel - of Montreal

Release Year: 1999*

Rating: 9.0 / 10

Favorite Song(s): Don’t Ask Me To Explain

Least Favorite Song(s): Montreal

NOTE: While this album was recorded and originally released in 1997, there was a re-recording in 1999. Most versions of this album go off of the 1999 release.

When I got into of Montreal, I got into it backwards; starting with newer stuff (specifically, Skeletal Lamping and White is Relic/Irrealis Mood; the latter of which I have a poster of!) and only later going to the first albums. I feel this album is very set apart from their later work in style, but you can definitely still see the early blooms of what the band has gone on to become. I think this album is heads and tails above The Early Four Track Recordings, which I listened to back to back with this album one day while planning to review this one.

I think overall it’s a sweet album with interesting lyrics. I often revisit many songs on this album, and I think it’s a fun experience. I enjoy the personal and introspective lyrics. I think all the songs on this are an appropriate length, not lingering beyond their stay, but giving you enough that they’re each their own full experience within and outside the album. I think while there are songs that are just fine on this album, it also has songs that are really good, which boosts it overall, especially with 2 of my favorites on this album being the opener and ending.

I also really do like the album artwork for this one, and think it really captures the sort of experience you get visually. Simple, but it works to convey the mood of this album.

Track by Track thoughts

1. Everything Disappears When You Come Around

This song is a sweet opener. It’s one of the first tracks I ever heard from this album before I did a deep dive into it. I think it’s just a lovely song, and it always makes me want to go out and take a walk at sunset.

2. Baby

It’s a nice song about having a crush, while viewing it in a -- I don't want to say realistic, more of a sadder tone; expecting it not to be requited and expecting it to be passing. The lyrics have a bittersweet quality that works nicely with the instruments.

3. I Can't Stop Your Memory

Usually, if a song starts slow, I usually tune out. This is one worth sticking around after the slow start since it picks up and changes tune. It’s a really interesting track, and while not my favorite, I think it’s a fun showcase of the changeups I associate with of Montreal now. I think the strange whimsical nature of part of the instrumental in this song is nicely reflected again in “In Dreams I Dance With You”. I also think the light guitar the song ends in is really lovely.

4. When You're Loved Like You Are

Another slower one that actually I don’t mind at all. I think the story behind this song is incredibly sad, but it’s a really beautiful tribute. Even without the further context, it’s just a sweet song.

5. Don't Ask Me to Explain

This is also one of the first songs I heard from this album and probably my favorite. I think it’s so fun and upbeat. I really think the ending lines (“It's so easy to laugh to myself / And pretend that I could love you but I can't”) is really interesting in the scope of the album and this song in general.

6. In Dreams I Dance with You

This is one that’s good, but to the lower end of my list. I actually think I like the softer beginning of this one versus the more upbeat switch up. It’s still a worthwhile listen, but I don’t have so much to say about it.

7. Sleeping in the Beetle Bug

A good song with really good instrumental. This is one that it took looking up the lyrics to get a better picture of, and I feel it hits home in a way I can’t fully explain.

8. Tim I Wish You Were Born a Girl

This song– for me, there’s a lot to say about it. I know the common way to view this is “it’s common to be in love with a friend but they’re not the gender you’re attracted to.” But on a personal level, this song hits heavy on when I used to think I was straight and my “girl crushes” I thought were just a normal thing of being straight because I didn’t realize I, myself, could be anything else.

Either way, it’s a sweet song no matter the perspective you take on it, and very heartfelt. Another favorite from the album.

9. Montreal

I don’t hate this song, but I don’t love it. I’m sure it’s a good song if you’re moping around, and I’m sure it was a good song to get out emotions while writing it (As the song is about the failed relationship of Kevin and the woman the band is named after). Overall, it just doesn’t hit for me like the rest of the album.

10. This Feeling (Derek's Theme)

I have a special place for how this song opens with some unintelligible chatter. When done right, I really like that. I think it’s just a nice song, with more interesting lyrics.

11. I Was Watching Your Eyes

I really like this song too; Something about the lyrics here also just feels so personal. The instrumental I think compliments the lyrics well, adding more emotion to back up Kevin’s vocals.

12. Springtime Is the Season

Like Montreal, this song isn’t one of my personal favs of the album. I think it has a certain vibe that just doesn’t connect with me. I do however like the line, “No matter how you died through winter, in spring you're born again”, especially as I’m writing this in late spring.

13. At Night Trees Aren't Sleeping

A song I didn’t pay attention to a lot on my first listen to this album completely. Now I have “Watching me watch birds watch people” keep going through my head. I like the song!

14. You've Got a Gift

Everytime I listen to this song I get happy, just because it makes me think about my girlfriend (especially, “I find joy in simple things ever since I met you”). I think it’s such a sweet song, and another one that reminds me of walking at sunset. I love it, it’s a lovely song and I think it's one of of Montreal’s best “love” (romantic or non-romantic) songs. A really wonderful album ender, especially with the outro instrumentals.

On a side note that isn’t a reflection on my review, I found a page (of Bar/None Records, which oM was signed to) to buy some of their early CDs on… I think it’s a sweet glimpse at the beginnings of the band; It’s especially interesting when compared to now.

8:37pm .. .. // 5.12.2024