The Mountain Goats is my punk.
At least, the Mountain Goats is my punk in the sense that if I play it for sensitive friends or parents, the reaction is inevitably, "oh my, turn off that awful thing," faster than I can say "But, but, 'my love is like a Cuban plane!'"
But I am not alone in liking John Darnielle's lyrics! I hear that people studying clinical depression find them quite instructive!
Or, if I am more serious, you can find Mountain Goats in your average Barnes and Noble if not your average radio station, which just about makes John Darnielle mainstream. He's just a special kind of mainstream. That special kind of mainstream where you can say "The Mountain Goats is my favorite band" and people will still go "who?" It can be gratifying to the ego.
Anyway, the Mountain Goats is my punk and my favorite band. And I just listened to Sunset Tree and Tallahassee all but back to back, so I wanted to get out my periodical Mountain Goats glee all at once. Just, you know, focused on those two albums rather than John Darnielle's other two thousand albums.
John Darnielle does not write nice songs. He writes songs about self-destruction (but not the appealing sexy kind. Self-destruction is never any fun under Darnielle's pen), alcoholism, toxic relationships, abuse, game shows, and peanuts. He does not write songs you can play at weddings or birthday parties, and people at funerals would not really appreciate them either. However, he is really quite talented and can not only write pretty lines about the moon, but also about spittle. The Mountain Goats is very democratic with pretty. And although these songs are often densely metaphorical and occasionally densely allusive, they are also often conversational and veritably filled with concrete detail, so Stephen Sondheim might not disapprove. Darnielle also is a good enunciator, so you usually do not need to refer to a lyrics sheet. This is also a plus.
I have now gathered what I consider the three catchiest songs each from these two albums below these two cuts, with lyric snippets. Try not to overheat with excitement, although it will be difficult not to.
Dance Music - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddxbQbqj
ok so look I'm seventeen years old, and you're the last best thing I've got going. but then the special secret sickness starts to eat through you. what am I supposed to do?
Up the Wolves - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PO4r9m_
our mother has been absent ever since we founded rome. but there's going to be a party when the wolf comes home.
Love, Love, Love - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qv3-vANW
some things you'll do for money and some you'll do for fun, but the things you do for love are going to come back to you one by one.
First Few Desperate Hours - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lcbsBFt
And we try to keep our sprits high But they flag and they wane When the truck pulls up out front In the light spring rain
No Children - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRP6egIE
I hope that our few remaining friends Give up on trying to save us I hope we come up with a failsafe plot To piss off the dumb few that forgave us
Oceanographer's Choice - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPjbloNJ
Look at that Would you look at that? We're throwing off sparks What will I do when I don't have you To hold onto in the dark?