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My Beloved Monster is a song that has been recorded by the US rock band Eels. It's the sixth song from their album Beautiful freak which was released in 1996. It became a hit after being included in the soundtrack of 2001 movie Shrek.

(Use both headphone ears when listening to the following version)

Or listen to this version (without lyrics on screen) but can hear voice in both ears.

It has a puzzling set of lyrics. I'm wondering who or what is this song really about? The apparent interpretation would be that this is about a girlfriend but I've seen that it's a tribute to the deceased sister of their bandleader Mark Oliver Everett, but there's no official source regarding that claim. His sister Elizabeth did indeed committed suicide in 1996, the same year this album came out.

Is there any official explanation on the subject of this song?

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    +1 just for this being one of my favourite albums of all time;) btw, this version isn't because it's some kind of karaoke mix; the vocal is panned hard-right on the original album track.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 13, 2021 at 18:16
  • @Tetsujin Great to meet another fan! I added another version below, which has been modified to stream voice in both ears.
    – Sandun
    Sep 13, 2021 at 22:35
  • Timeline is against the "sister" theory as according to wiki "Following the success of Beautiful Freak, E experienced a difficult time in his personal life. His sister committed suicide, and his mother was diagnosed with cancer. These events inspired him to write Electro-Shock Blues"
    – Angst
    Nov 13, 2021 at 13:59

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In his autobiography 'Things the Grandchildren Should Know', E reflects on the show at the Royal Albert Hall in London during the Eels with Strings tour in 2014.
He writes the following about 'My Beloved Monster' (p. 231, my emphasis):

I'm thinking about the irrational crush I had on the girl at the post office back in Virginia. I'm glad she's not here to hear me utter the embarrassing words I wrote about her.

Earlier on in his book (p. 109), E talks about the conception of the song:

One of the songs I recorded came about when my friend Jon Brion came over to my house one night. [..] He came over and suggested, as an exercise, that he would go upstairs for thirty minutes to write a song while I went downstairs for thirty minutes to write a song. [..] I went downstairs, picked up my paisley Telecaster guitar, plugged it into the tape recorder and started singing [..].

As for the girl the song is about (pp. 72-73):

I developed an irrational and embarrassing crush on a girl who worked at the post office. I only ever made small talk with her while buying stamps or sending mail at her counter, but I was always thinking about her. After months of this, I got the nerve to ask her out. She went out with me the day the space shuttle exploded and let me know that she was engaged. I went home and wrote a song called 'The Girl at the Post Office is Getting Married' and that was that.


Just to address the erroneous idea that the song is about E's sister Liz's suicide: this is impossible, as it took place shortly before Beautiful Freak was released (as pointed out in the comments by user Angst).
From page 119:

One night before the album's release, we played a show at the Alligator Lounge [..] I came home after the show and checked my phone messages. There was a message from my mom, who sounded really weird, saying to call her. [..]
[E.'s mother on the phone with him:] 'She took a bottle of pills and went into a coma ... and she ... she ... she ...'
There was a long pause. Then, 'she died.'

And as can be gleaned from the lyrics, the song is also quite unsuitable for the love for a sister:

My beloved monster is tough,
if she wants she will disrobe you.
But if you lay her down for a kiss,
her little heart it could explode.


This is one of E's most beloved songs, and he plays it (almost) every show, in a wide variety of ways.
On the Live at the Town Hall LP version from 2006, E included a new verse:

When she turns out the light every night,
she don't have a thing to fear.
Although the day didn't go quite right,
there's another chance near.

Something that shines through in his autobiography, is that E has the tendency to embellish the truth when he wants to get a certain idea across. From this verse it seems the subject of this song also has moved past the post office girl crush.

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