Although the majority of writers and readers on the site are no longer angsty teens, you all once were, hence your love of rock and roll. As a young woman still experiencing/ suffering from this angst, I have found solace in the music of Modest Mouse. Though they would not necessarily be considered a rock and roll group, the members and music epitomize many of the same values and ideals that make up the very spirit of rock and roll.
There are so many things I love about this band. First of all, their sound. While it is easy for today’s bands to succumb to the typical monochromatic pop sounds to make money and be on the radio, MM sticks to their own unique sound. They are a band that continues to experiment with new sounds and be real while so many others are not. They know how to make a popular record, and yet they are true to their own style. Heartmelting guitar riffs combine with killer drumming, bass, and a multitude of other intruments such as horn, fiddle, banjo, and keyboards, and songs are often accompanied by an overarching violin melody. They have killer instrumentalists all around and even more amazing vocals by my main man, Isaac Brock.
What gets me the most about MM is the lyricism. Brock manages to capture the essence of angst felt by teens and adults alike and put it in words that make me and many others like me swoon. He provides a dark social commentary for cynics like myself to hold onto in this world of sin and materialism. Together, these elements make MM a perfect band for teens and adults alike to hold close as we watch the world go down from our suburban bubbles. Some of my favorite quotes include:
I like songs about drifters – books about the same, they both seem to make me feel a little less insane (The World at Large)
So all of the businessers in their unlimited hell where they buy and they sell, and they sell all their trash to each other, but they’re sick of it all and they’re bankrupt on selling (Bankrupt on Selling)
I had a drink the other day, opinions were like kittens I was givin them away (Out of Gas)
On my way to God don’t know, my brains the burger and my heart’s the charcoal (Heart Cook Brain)
I’m on a road shaped like a figure eight, I’m going nowhere but I’m guaranteed to be late (Interstate 8)
As life gets longer, awful feels softer and it feels pretty soft with you, and if it takes shit to make bliss then I feel pretty blissfully (The View)
I could easily write an essay about my love for Modest Mouse, but I will leave it at this for now. If you haven’t already, go check them out!
Your heart felt good
It was drippin’ pitch and made out of wood.
And your hands and knees
Felt cold and wet on the grass to me.
Outside naked, shiverin’ looking blue,
From the cold sunlight that’s reflected off the moon.
Baby cum angles fly around you
Reminding you we used to be three and not just two.
And thats how the world began and
It’s how the world will end.
I have a couple of their discs, but just rarely think of playing them because the Mouse is largely overlooked by anything that is not Pandora searching for songs by MM.
But, I totally dug The Whale Song you turned me onto (it made Night Music here few months back).
These guys mess with dissonance and life and uncertainty in such a quirky and accessible way (they remind me a lot of Pavement, too).
Keep it coming!
Such angsty angst. This song reminds me of The Mekons.
A few years ago I won a contest, the prize was a hard drive with over 12,000 songs on it. The content was the music collection of one Justin Eleff, who is a lot younger than we are. Steve will be happy to learn that the songs were all part of albums, but I confess that I gave each band two songs to get me going and if not it’s on to the next. I heard many cool bands that I had never heard, like The Rifles, Vivian Girls, and Exploding Hearts to name a few. I first heard The Raveonettes from Justin. He liked Modest Mouse, and all their albums were on my drive. I have to admit that I hate their name. I mean, why? What is accomplished?
I don’t hate their music. I find it terminally interesting. Unlike most rock songs the lyrics are actually good, unfortunately the lead singer fails to get them over. First because it’s hard to understand them because second he sings like he doesn’t want them to be understood. And like so many in recent decades, he whines. The backup singing brings out all his shortcomings because that is really good.
And the music is good at times, often arresting and they play loud, but it should be faster. I mentioned the Exploding Hearts. Three of the four band members died in a car crash in 2003. They should be better known, their whole album is really good but here’s a taste:
Boy now that REALLY reminds me of The Strokes.