Thursday, October 29, 2009

Top 5 Mountain Goats Love Songs

I promised several lists about Mountain Goats songs, and I make good on promises, albeit days later and dollars shorter. (What?) Also, Rami, you are absolutely right about "Sax Rohmer #1". That song is a million bloody fists of fury hurling themselves at the door of heaven itself.


5. "Going to Queens" (from the album Sweden)

John Darnielle is just plain, damn-good at writing all the possible kinds of love songs. One of his real strengths is the "new love" love song, and for me, this song is the perfect example of that. This song captures that moment when everything speeds up and you realize, goddamn, I really do love this person. And it's never when you expect it--and it's never why or how, either. For this narrator, it's his lady coming out of a shower, dripping wet, while kids outside on the street are jumping rope and singing songs. Something singularly beautiful happens in that moment and the lover becomes "all [he] ever wanted", "all [he'd] ever need".

4. "Broom People" (from the album The Sunset Tree)

Another kind of love song that John can really knock the hell out of is the "Oh God, there is nothing in this ridiculous world that makes any sense, except for you" variety. This song always reminded me of my aunt and uncle, mainly because of the '36 Hudson he references in the first line. According to the man himself though, it's about a kid who gets terrorized in school, but falls in love with this life-changing girl--so even though he still gets the hell beat out of him by the jocks, he can handle it, 'cause he's got his girl. (That's nice, too.) I just love how triumphant it is... despite all the shit and mess and pet hair and "good reasons to freeze to death", this guy knows that when his woman comes over and they close the door, they get to share something that no one else has or understands. If that ain't love, well... I'd say "then I dunno what is", but come on, there's no question here--that's friggin' love, man.

3. "Going to Georgia" (from the album Zopilote Machine)

OH MAN. Then, there is the I-am-an-unpredictable-explosive-force-but-I-know-that-you-will-keep-me-safe love song. "Going to Georgia" is basically a perfect song. It's also the first Mountain Goats song a lot of people here. There is such raw, desperate power in this song--both the lyrics and the vocals--that you cannot help but give it your full attention; it commands you to listen, frankly. "Two big hands and a heart pumping blood and a 1967 Colt .45 with a busted safety catch" is one of the most terrifying-yet-gleeful images I can think of. Fun fact time: Pitr and I have a sweet Mountain Goats faux-cover band called Wolves in the Walls, in which we introduce ourselves as "Two Big Hands" and "A Heart Pumping Blood", respectively. (Was that fact not fun? Oh well, sorry. No refunds.)

2. "International Small Arms Traffic Blues" (from Tallahassee)

Honestly, I could have put on all of Tallahassee, an album so earth-shatteringly, mind-bogglingly, noun-adverbially good, that it should be a required course in all US high schools. This is not pretty love. This is not sweet love. This is not lovely love. This is a painful, destructive, watch-the-hell-out, I-will-take-you-down-with-me love that has no respect or regard for anything but its own consummatory force. The cutesy-at-first-glance similes are the hook of this song ("our love is like the border between Greece and Albania", obv), but is there anything that sums this album up better than the bitter-and-yet-disarming admission "the way I feel about you, baby, can't explain it / you've got the best of my love"? Spoiler alert: Fuck, no!

1. "There Will Be No Divorce" (from the album The Coroner's Gambit)

This is... this is just... gah. I can't even say anything. I am gushing, I know. This is why I don't write about the Goats that often, I get to this place where I want to jump up and down on people's faces, screaming "Why don't you love this the way I love it!" (Also, pause for a moment and notice that all these songs are less than three minutes long. The sheer amount of poetry-per-second is baffling.) Anyway. This is a simple song. There were hard times, the end was in sight, but at five in the morning, the narrator watches her sleeping and knows it's going to be okay, it's going to work out. Perfect.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Top 19 Excuses For Not Posting In Forever

You. Guys.

So the other day, I got an email. It was from Barack Obama. Now, we don't know if it was THE Barack Obama. (And who really is Barack Obama anyway? Think about that.) This email was in the form of a comment on our most recent post--if early September can be called recent. The comment said, in effect, "Hey, please post, you nerd-jobs." This marked the third such comment in a short span of time... the second was from a commenter named Professor Remix and the first was a postscript in an email from my mom.

Barack Obama, Professor Remix, and my mom.

Is that not the raddest fucking superhero team of all time? So rad, in fact, that I was inspired. Inspired with such fervor, that on this, my 24th birthday, I am posting once more. And as Barack Obama requested, it's a list of excuses for not posting for so long.

1.) The Obvious, Pt. I: I started grad school at Princeton in early September, so... yah. At first, I was just way over my head, but I'm starting to get a grasp, so I think there's plenty of listing in my future. THIS I PROMISE YOU, PARMLOTTERS. (All six of you. And that includes the League of Professor Remix, Barack Obama, and Mom.)

2.) The Obvious, Pt. II - Rob is doing his thing in LA and his thing involves twittering about his dinner and shit, which, though technically in list form, is not just not the same. THERE. I said it. Also, I miss you, Rob. THERE. I said that too.

3.) You guys, THIS is how I wanted to commemorate September 11th this year, did you not get it?!

4.) Yeah, see, the time between September 11th and my birthday is known as The Troubles. It's this whole big thing... there's fasting and rituals and you're not allowed to post on blogs.

5.) Wait, did you not buy your Troubles calendars?

6.) They're like Advent calendars, but instead of with ornaments inside, it's pictures of me giving the thumbs up.

7.) Anyway.

8.) Oh! Oh! This one is real... early in October, I wrote a bunch of lists, actually. They were all about the Mountain Goats, in honor of the October 6th release of The Life of the World to Come, their new album.

9.) 'Cause, y'know, I talk a lot about how I love the Goats, but I never actually list about them.

10.) That's kinda messed up. It's like I'm not pullin' my weight! But then it was a like, a week later, and it seemed too late. Eh. I'll put up a few soon.

11.) Anyway. (Again.)

12.) Um... Brett Favre. Oh wait, we're done blaming Brett Favre for things, cool!

13.) While we're at tt, 6-0 BABY!? The last time the Vikes were 6-0 on my birthday, it was 2003. The Darkness was on the radio, the whole country was wondering if Frodo would evvvver make it to Mordor, and I was totally a senior in high school.


15.) Jersey has a no-blogs allowed law, on account of all that blog-corruption.

16.) Every list I think up lately is about some combination of Bon Jovi, acid wash, and face perception.

17.) This whole grad school thing was a big lie and I have been on a 41-day PCP vision quest. The good news is, I won! The bad news is, there is no bad news! I was just joking.

18.) I was actually just waiting for Barack Obama to email me.

19.) OKAY. I still got it! Sorta. Now back to reading...