Monday, October 29, 2007

Mountain Goats - The Highlights (In Preparation for the Upcoming Concert)

Since I will be attending the Mountain Goats concert in Omaha this Saturday, and since John Darnielle is my favorite lyricist, I thought I’d give a small rundown of my favorite songs of theirs:

Going to Georgia

Of course, this is an obvious one, hailing from their very first album, Zopilote Machine. It may be incredibly lo-fi, but it contains my favorite lyrics of all time, “The most remarkable thing about you standing in the doorway/is that it’s you/and that you’re standing in the doorway.” It is a simple statement, but remarkably beautiful in its simplicity. It is like what I’ve wanted to say so many times to so many people, I’m just happy that you’re here at all.

This Year

This is also an obvious choice. The first single from the cathartic album The Sunset Tree, it is a bleeding, joyous, explosion of childhood confession. It feels as if John Darnielle finally lets all of the things that happened during his childhood out in one terrifying gasp. Highlighted lyric: “I downshifted as I pulled into the driveway/The motor screaming out stuck in second gear/The scene ends badly as you might imagine/in a cavalcade of anger and fear/There will be feasting and dancing in Jerusalem next year/I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me.”

Attention All Pickpockets

This comes from the 3-song EP, Letter to Belgium. This song winds down to the old single-acoustic guitar and vocals motif. It is a touching driven song that with each chorus finds a multitude of voices singing. Highlighted lyric: “Black pumps/And a medium length black skirt/Eating a path through the dark, damp earth/I hope they’ve got plenty of money where you’re going.”

Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton

From their album, All Hail West Texas, this song tells the story of two teenagers trying to get a death metal band together to follow their favorite music acts. (Apparently John Darnielle is very influenced by death metal, although his music is usually acoustic-folk.) After they get their band together, they try to perform publicly, but the school tells them that because of their use of a pentagram (like a lot of death metal bands) they cannot continue to perform, therefore ruining their dreams. Highlighted lyric: “When you punish a person for dreaming his dream/Don’t expect him to thank or forgive you/The best ever death metal band out of Denton/Will in time both outpace and outlive you/Hail Satan!” (The last remark is obviously meant to be ironic… this band isn’t a cult.)

The Mess Inside

Also from All Hail West Texas, this song tells the story of a young couple who try to reignite their love by vacationing all over the world, but find that the world cannot solve their problems. It is close to one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, and therefore I will post all of the lyrics from the song:


We took a weekend, drove to Provo/
the snow was white and fluffy/
but a weekend in Utah won't fix what's wrong with us/
the gray sky was vast and real cryptic above me/
I wanted you to love me like you used to do.
We took two weeks in the Bahamas/
went out dancing every night/
tried to fight the creeping sense of dread with temporal things/
most of the time I guess I felt alright/
but I wanted you to love me like you used to do.
But you cannot run/
and you cannot hide/
from the wreck we've made of our house/
and from the mess inside.
We went down to New Orleans/
one weekend in the spring/
looked hard for what we'd lost/
it was painful to admit it, but we couldn't find a thing/
I wanted you to love me like you used to do.
We went to New York City in September/
took the train out of Manhattan to the Grand Army Stop/
found that bench we'd sat together on a thousand years ago/
when I felt such love for you I thought my heart was gonna pop/
I wanted you to love me like you used to do.
But I cannot run/
and I can't hide/
from the wreck we've made of our house/
from the mess inside.

5 comments:

m!les said...

Going to Georgia

I found a live version of this song, but I think I've heard it before. Or maybe that's part of the magic of Mountain Goats; they play in such a straight-forward way, that it seems just like conversations you've spoken before. I heard the song before I read your paragraph about it, and that was the line that stuck out for me, too.

This Year

This song, a personal favorite of mine, seems to be just as popular with avid listeners as with other artists. The band The Hold Steady makes mention of the song in their song "Girls Like Status"

It was song number three / on John's last CD / gonna make it through this year / if it kills me / and it almost killed me

Attention All Pickpockets

I couldn't find this song for easy consumption. I have nothing to say on the matter.

Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton

I first heard this song on a blog that was comparing studio versions of songs to live versions, in which they thought the live versions were better. This song was amazing and still is. I love the folky chant of "Hail Satan!" and the bitter spat of "The best ever death metal band out of Denton / Will in time both outpace and outlive you"

The Mess Inside

I couldn't find this song either. :( But your lyrics sounded good.

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