Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News

Let me start out by saying this: How could I possibly have ever fallen in love with We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank compared to this album? Clearly some mistake has been made: a mistake that replaced the idea that I wanted that album first instead of this one. Then again, I guess I should have gotten We Were Dead first, then I wouldn't have been disappointed by it. I knew this album was better as soon as I got to the end of "The World At Large," when I wanted to listen to it transition to "Float On" over and over again (I had been listening to "Float On" for a much longer time beforehand, and I had always wondered what the meaning of that opening tone was).

 One thing's for sure, Modest Mouse love long names almost as much as they love bad news: Good News For People Who Love Bad News, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, This is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About are a few examples. That's interesting, because their song names aren't super long. They've also released more EP's than LP's, which does make sense considering the fact that EP's are likely not as hard to make, but EP's are still kind of a dying breed. I think the last successful EP (correct me if I'm wrong) is The Fame Monster by Lady GaGa, and before that it might have been Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles. The last signature of Modest Mouse behavior is singer Issac Brock, whose voice is probably one of the most unique in the entire indie rock scene, not to mention the way he uses it and the lyrics it uses. The best part about his voice is he can warp it from something beautiful to something rabid in an instant, and sometimes even at the same time. The lyrics, too, are completely fearless in their messages. Even the blatant curse words fit perfectly, which can take me aback when it's unexpected. "Done-done-done with all the fuh-fuh-fucking around" being an example.

The music will go from fast-paced and almost happy to slow and super-sad in a heartbeat, but the melancholy drone follows each song without fail, even in songs like "Float On," which at least sound like it's supposed to be happy-ish. Obviously unhappy songs like "The Good Times Are Killing Me" and "Blame It On the Tetons" are, well, obviously unhappy, but it's harder to tell with "Satin In A Coffin" or "Bury Me With It." It's funny, because "Bury Me With It," "Satin In A Coffin" and "Black Cadillacs" really should have gone together due to their common theme of death and funerals, but they remain separated by songs like "Dance Hall" and "The View," which seem to be the farthest things from it.

But overall, this is one great album if you want to feel bad (or maybe to feel good that you don't feel that bad), and it will certainly kill off the annoyingly-happy person in your life if you make him/her listen to it. Even beyond that there is a lot of great material on this disk that should not be passed up.

PS: In the playlist, I put the album version of "Float On" to show how the song transitions from "The World At Large." There's a tiny, millisecond of a stop that breaks it, but it's smooth on the album. The single version doesn't have the tone at the beginning. Also, Playlist.com didn't have "Blame It On the Tetons," so I've embedded a YouTube video.

PPS: If you want to suggest something for me to review, comment or email with it.

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