18. Modest Mouse: Good News For People Who Love Bad News
Modest Mouse was mentioned earlier on the list at #59. The fact that their two newest albums are the only Modest Mouse entries is sure to piss off multiple Modest Mouse fans. While I love their early work (specifically The Lonesome Crowded West) it was their later more pop-ier sound that I prefer.
By 2004 I had all but given up on the radio preferring to just listen to CDs. So unlike people who discovered Modest Mouse when they heard Float On on the radio I had no idea that song existed until one day after work. In high school and college I worked at an old folks home called Lima Estates, since at least half the employees all came from the same high school we’d car pool to save gas. It was while I was in my friend Holly’s car that i heard Modest Mouse for the first time.
When she picked me up she was blasting Bury Me With It and I instantly fell in love with the quirkiness of the song. I immediately went out and purchased the album with my next paycheck and quickly fell in love with the album.
The CD begins with a horn introduction that we will hear again later in the album on the song The Devil’s Workday. The horns lead into The World At Large, a simple song strung around different repeatetive guitar parts and random percussion instruments. The atmospheric and relaxed sound leads into their unstoppable hit single Float On. Lead Vocalist Isaac Brock said the song stemmed from his desire to write at least one upbeat song.
Float On is followed by the albums second single Ocean Breathes Salty which was always my least favorite song on the album. It is a catchy song in it’s own way but of all the songs on the record it definitely wouldn’t have been my pick for the follow up single. The song does lead into Dig Your Grave, which is a twelve second sound clip that we’ll hear again in Satin in a Coffin later in the album.
The next song is Dance Hall, it’s what I would have picked as the second single. It’s the fasted and craziest song on the album, but it’s repeatetive chorus and musical refrain would have definitely lead to radio gold. As for what the song is about, I haven’t the slightest clue.
The album begins to slow down a little with the song Bukowski. I’m not an atheist and typically find most atheists as unbearable as any fundimentalist Christian. I typically find “atheist comedians” and overly “atheist themed” songs as annoying as must christian music. That being said, I adore Bukowski. Isaac Brock actually tries to understand how a God could allow things to happen and questions things that happen in society. It is the perfect campaign piece to the next track Devil’s Workday.
The album closes with The Good Times Are Killing Me which I like to describe as a ‘demented beach boys’ sound. Is nice closer to the album.
I purposely skipped over a few tracks near the end including my two favorite songs. Here’s why. Track 10 is a Song called The View, somehow it took me 6 years to actually HEAR this song. I remember I was driving home from work one day listening to the album and noticed an incredible hook that I some how missed. “As life gets longer, awful feels softer, it feels pretty soft to me. If it takes shit to make bliss well I feel, pretty blissfully.” This lyric just hypnotized me and i kept listening to this song and singing it over and over again.
The only other song on this album to captivate me like that was track 12 Blame it On the Tetons. This is where I’ve always felt the album should have ended. while I like the three tacks after it “Black Cadillacs”, “One Chance” and “The Good Times Are Killing Me”. Blame it on the Tetons has everyone you want out of a closing track, including a beautiful piano piece while the song fades out.
Unlike many of the other records on this list I don’t have any MAJOR memories that attach to this album behind driving home from work like I mentioned earlier. Regardless this album I’ve listened to hundreds of times and it has yet to feel old or dated. Definitely an album to pick up if you’re new to Modest Mouse.