It's tragic that this is considered "meme" music, they have many great projects and if you have only checked out aeroplane, try ferris wheel on fire, or On Avery Island. But Aeroplane is their masterpiece, it is so heart wrenching, depressing, uplifting and incredible. Even the lines that people may make fun of "I love you Jesus Christ" is so honest and open, especially when you consider the sort of crowd they were surrounded by, even as an atheist this line feels beautiful and you feel the passion, and beauty that this guy sees in christ. Or the mesmerising Oh Comely that Jeff does in one take, and you hear someone say "holy shit" at the end. Or my personal fave track, two headed boy. With this track I imagine two siamese twins where one had to die, and he stil feels the spirit of his twin "Now your eyes ain't moving/ Now they just lay there in their climb", really incredible, and the way the instruments rotate around jeffs voice like the earth does with the sun. NMH are everything.
I wouldn't say they were "ahead of their time", most everything they did had already been done 50+ years ago in some offshoot of folk music. Not that they single-handedly pioneered the fuzzy lo-fi aesthetic either. Certainly they were a great group and Mangum wrote some great songs... the records are worth having, NMH actually played a big part in making me interested in playing guitar. I just don't see them as particularly groundbreaking.