I've always thought that the best time to get sucked into this musical masterpiece though is outdoors when it's warm out, which is why it's my go to soundtrack for long, hot summer nights.
There's a freedom and a looseness to "Merriweather Post Pavilion" that makes it much more summery than a lot of Animal Collective's earlier music. It has the usual dreamy Animal Collective sound, but sticky hooks and clap-along melodies give it a more welcoming, pop feel. It's somehow able to sound both warm and cool, with a delicate, psychedelic feel but also explosive builds and booms. "My Girls" is perhaps the best example of this. The first half of the song is dedicated to a steady build in tempo, a towering pinnacle is reached at around the 3:00 minute mark, with handclaps and deep bass, and then it suddenly deflates into a soft close.
In an album as distorted as this, it's hard to focus on the lyrics, but when you take the time to, there's a sweetness that pairs perfectly with the happiness of summer nights. I especially like the words of "Bluish" ("I like the way you squeeze my hand, pulling me to another dream," for example) and "Summertime Clothes" ("We dance to the songs of the cars as they pass"). And while it's definitely not easy to sing along to this album, after enough listens it becomes infinitely more possible than anything Animal Collective has released before.
Even though it's quite digitally manipulated, with samples and loops played around with until they're unrecognizable, there is a still a natural sound to "Merriweather Post Pavilion." The beginning of the opening track "In The Flowers" has always reminded me of blowing wind, chirping birds and the rush of a stream. "Summertime Clothes" has sounds reminiscent of a fire crackling and kids playing.
"Merriweather Post Pavilion" isn't just an album that sounds good in the summer. It's an album that actually sounds like the summer.