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Beautiful Freak

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Beautiful Freak
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 13, 1996
GenreAlternative rock
Eels chronology
Beautiful Freak
Electro-Shock Blues
Singles from Beautiful Freak
  1. "Novocaine for the Soul"
    Released: February 3, 1996
  2. "Susan's House"
    Released: May 5, 1996
  3. "Rags to Rags"
    Released: 1996
  4. "Your Lucky Day in Hell"
    Released: September 1, 1996
  5. "Beautiful Freak"
    Released: 1997

Beautiful Freak is the debut album by American rock band Eels. It was released on 13 August 1996 and is the second album released by record label DreamWorks.


Beautiful Freak is the first album using the full band name Eels, in an attempt to get the records in the same general location in the stores as frontman Mark Oliver Everett's previous works under the name "E".[2]


Beautiful Freak was produced by E, Jon Brion, Mark Goldenberg and Michael Simpson. The majority of the album was recorded from 1993 to 1995, with first single "Novocaine for the Soul" (which contains a sample of "Let the Four Winds Blow" by Fats Domino) having been recorded and mixed as early as 1993.[1] "Susan's House" contains a sample of "Love Finds Its Own Way" by Gladys Knight & the Pips; "Guest List" contains a sample of "I Like It" by The Emotions; and "Flower" contains sample of "I'm Glad You're Mine" by Al Green.[citation needed]


Everett had suggested having a little girl with big eyes on the cover. The girl that came in to have her picture taken incidentally looked "like a miniature Susan" to Everett, referring to his ex-girlfriend and the subject of the song "Susan's House".[2]


Beautiful Freak was released on August 13, 1996, by record label DreamWorks, the first album released on the label. The album peaked at number 5 on the UK Albums Chart.[3]

Four singles were released to promote the album: "Novocaine for the Soul" in February 1996, "Susan's House" in May, "Your Lucky Day in Hell" in September, and the title track the following year.

The April 1997 German release of the album included a bonus live EP from a BBC recording session.


Professional ratings
Review scores
The Boston Phoenix[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[6]
Entertainment WeeklyB[7]
The Guardian[8]
Los Angeles Times[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[12]

In a contemporary review of Beautiful Freak, Q praised the album as "a complete musical vision, a genre-spanning soundscape that reels you in with its myriad hooks".[11] Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times wrote that "Eels' maverick vision reminds you of all the great Los Angeles bands, from the Flying Burrito Brothers to X, that have chronicled the outsider, underdog attitude in the shadows of a record industry that never embraces them commercially."[9] Ethan Smith of Entertainment Weekly stated that "the Eels' postgrunge pop melodies and quirky, intelligent production make for catchy modern rock that's miles ahead of the competition", but felt that E's "attempts at warts-and-all portrayals of urban life come off as a disingenuous, arty pose" and that "a little less pretension would get these guys a lot further."[7] Chicago Tribune critic Mark Caro was less favorable, writing that E's lyrics paint him as "either naive and self-absorbed or patronizing and calculating".[14] The Village Voice's Robert Christgau assigned the album a "dud" rating,[15] indicating "a bad record whose details rarely merit further thought."[16]

In his retrospective review, James Chrispell of AllMusic wrote: "Concise pop tunes form the backbone of the album, yet tinges of despair and downright meanness surface just when you've been lulled into thinking this is another pop group".[4] Trouser Press wrote that "E's material works best when he finds the rare balance between his misanthropy and his capacity for warmth."[17]


It was voted number 666 in the third edition of Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums (2000).[18] The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[19]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by E, except as noted

  1. "Novocaine for the Soul" (E and Mark Goldenberg) – 3:08
  2. "Susan's House" (E, Jim Jacobsen, and Jim Weatherly) – 3:43
  3. "Rags to Rags" (E) – 3:53
  4. "Beautiful Freak" (E) – 3:34
  5. "Not Ready Yet" (Jon Brion and E) – 4:46
  6. "My Beloved Monster" (E) – 2:13
  7. "Flower" (E and Jacobsen) – 3:38
  8. "Guest List" (E) – 3:13
  9. "Mental" (E) – 4:01
  10. "Spunky" (E) – 3:11
  11. "Your Lucky Day in Hell" (E and Goldenberg) – 4:28
  12. "Manchild" (E and Jill Sobule) – 4:05

German edition bonus disc The April 14, 1997 German release of the album included a bonus live EP from a BBC recording session

  1. "Novocaine for the Soul" (E and Goldenberg) – 3:22
  2. "Manchester Girl" (E) – 3:21
  3. "My Beloved Mad Monster Party" (E) – 2:34
  4. "Flower" (E and Jacbosen) – 3:17



Certifications and sales[edit]

Sales certifications for Beautiful Freak
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Belgium (BEA)[29] Gold 25,000*
France (SNEP)[30] Gold 100,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[31] Platinum 300,000^
United States 189,000[32]
Worldwide 700,000[33]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b "Biography". Eels: Official Band Website. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Everett, Mark Oliver (2008). Things the Grandchildren Should Know. New York City: Little, Brown & Company. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-316-02787-8.
  3. ^ "Eels – Official Charts Company". Official Charts. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Chrispell, James. "Beautiful Freak – Eels". AllMusic. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  5. ^ Steele, Amy (September 12–19, 1996). "Eels: Beautiful Freak (DreamWorks)". The Boston Phoenix.
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Eels". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  7. ^ a b Smith, Ethan (October 11, 1996). "Beautiful Freak". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on November 18, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  8. ^ Sweeney, Kathy (February 14, 1997). "The Eels: Beautiful Freak (DreamWorks)". The Guardian.
  9. ^ a b Hilburn, Robert (December 8, 1996). "Eels, 'Beautiful Freak,' DreamWorks". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  10. ^ Mulvey, John (February 22, 1997). "Eels – Beautiful Freak". NME. Archived from the original on October 2, 2000. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Eels: Beautiful Freak". Q (123): 147. December 1996.
  12. ^ Kot, Greg (2004). "Eels". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 273. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  13. ^ Lawrence, Eddy (March 1997). "Eels: Beautiful Freak". Select (81).
  14. ^ Caro, Mark (January 3, 1997). "Eels: Beautiful Freak (Dreamworks)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 11, 1997). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  16. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Key to Icons". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  17. ^ Zwirn, Michael. "TrouserPress.com :: Eels". TrouserPress.com. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  18. ^ Larkin, Colin, ed. (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). New York City: Virgin Books. p. 217. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  19. ^ Dimery, Robert; Lydon, Michael (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. New York City: Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  20. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 91.
  21. ^ "Ultratop.be – Eels – Beautiful Freak" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  22. ^ "Ultratop.be – Eels – Beautiful Freak" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  23. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Eels – Beautiful Freak" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  24. ^ "Lescharts.com – Eels – Beautiful Freak". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  25. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  26. ^ "Eels Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  27. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1997". Ultratop. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  28. ^ "End of Year Album Chart Top 100 – 1997". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  29. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – albums 2004". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 2021-03-09.
  30. ^ "French album certifications – Eels – Beautiful Freak" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  31. ^ "British album certifications – Eels – Beautiful Freak". British Phonographic Industry.
  32. ^ Taylor, Chuck (6 February 1999). "In the hunt for hits". Billboard. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  33. ^ "Tely". Billboard. 4 September 1999. Retrieved 5 June 2018.

External links[edit]