A Crow Looked at Me by Mount Eerie is Absolutely Devastating


Jamie Goldinger

Content guide: This album discusses heavy themes such as death, cancer and implied suicide. It’s not an easy listen, and it’s not meant to be, but discretion is advised.

A Crow Looked at Me by Mount Eerie was released March 24, 2017, so why talk about it now? To answer that in the shortest possible way, I think it’s one of the most emotionally significant albums to come out of the last decade, and maybe even longer. But just give me a little time, and I’ll explain. 

Mount Eerie is a project by Phil Elverum who was also the mastermind behind The Microphones; It is a band consisting of Phil and several other revolving members. His sound mostly consists of experimental folk with slow acoustic guitars and drums that sometimes includes some electronic sounds, which is backed by lyrics that mainly revolve around nature and human emotion.

A Crow Looked at Me (ACLAM) is the eighth album released by Phil under the name Mount Eerie after Sauna in 2015. Though ACLAM was released in 2017, All of the songs were recorded in 2016, which is significant because it came only a year after his wife’s death from cancer in 2015. In fact, most of these songs were written mere months, and sometimes even weeks or days, after her death. Understandably, that’s entirely what the album is about, and unlike many similar albums, it’s not about a glorious revelation of life, it’s a pained realization of death

It really feels as if the words were never meant to be put over music. The lyrics themself are best described as raw emotion and thoughts, with lines like

“In January you were alive still, but chemo transformed your porcelain into some other thing. Something jaundiced and f***ed”

— Mount Eerie

. Many of the songs are even marked with the amount of time it’s been since her death. This is what makes it so devastating, as most of the time he isn’t making metaphors or being symbolic, it’s his unfiltered mind. 


I don’t think it would be fair to rate anything about this album, as I truly don’t think that was the point. This album isn’t meant to be enjoyed in a traditional sense, as he said himself in the first lines of the first song “Death is real, some ones there and then their not, And it’s not for singing about, It’s not for making into art”. 


With all this being said, I would only recommend listening if you’re in the right headspace, because despite the subject matter and what I’ve said, there is something to be found here, whether that be a simple deeper understanding of death or emotions, or something greater, I don’t know. But I’ll leave you with some of the most heart wrenching lyrics I’ve had the pleasure of listening too:

I Brought a chair from home

I’m leaving it on the hill facing west and north,

and I poured your ashes on

I guess so you can watch the sunset

But the truth is I don’t think of that dust as you

You are the sunset

— Mount Eerie