Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Mountain Goats - A Muse for Listmakers

As I noted in my last post, my last mix CD, Nothing But Good Things #46, starts with a Mountain Goats song.  The Mountain Goats have great lyrics and very evocative music.  They also have a style that is at once very simple and very modern and all of this combines to make them a fantastically useful band for free-form-radio-style segueues.

Over the years, five of their songs have appeared on my mix CDs:  Family Happiness (NBGT #16), Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton (NBGT #19), Oceanographer's Choice (NBGT #21), Dance Music (NBGT #28), and most recently The Autopsy Garland (NBGT #46).

If I made a top 100 personal favorite recordings (which I promise to do sometime), "Golden Boy Peanuts" from a 1990s compilation of songs about products would definitely make the list.  "Golden Boy Peanuts" was #71 on my top 300 songs of the 90s, a list I'll post here sometime in the next few months once I work my up to the best-of-the-decade lists.  It should have been higher.  Who's responsible for these crazy rankings anyway?

The Mountain Goats had 5 songs on my best of the 2000s list:  "Pigs That Ran Straightway Into the Water, Triumph of" at #256, "San Bernardino" at #211, "Oceanographer's Choice" at #114, "Woke Up New" at #42, and "Dance Music" at #18.  I need to make a list of the bands that have the most songs on my best-of-the-decades list.  Consider that added to my to-do list (which I won't post here).

For the reasons noted earlier, The Mountain Goats would chart high on a list of best Free Form bands, a list of bands with the best lyrics, a list of bands with the most consecutive records with at least one really good song, and certainly a list of best indie-pop bands.  I've called them a muse for listmakers because I wasn't even planning to make some of those lists until I realized I had to make them to see how high the Mountain Goats would rank.

I think I screwed up not including "The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton" on my not-yet-posted best of the 00s list.  I guess that gives me time to correct that.  It would certainly make a list of best metamusic (songs about music).  The Gazetteers latest album got me to thinking about metamusic, because their new songs "Monkees '67" and "K.I.S.S." would also be strong contenders for that list.

I made two mix CDs more than 10 years ago called "My Life as a Punk" and "My Life as a Poseur" (more on that later probably), and next I made a CD called "My Life as an Indie-pop Obscurophile".  The Mountain Goats were on the latter CD, but I think they may be too popular now to fully qualify.  According to, two of their albums have actually made the Billboard top 200.

The Mountain Goats would also be contenders on a list of bands that are mostly vehicles for one guy, John Darnielle in this case, and a list of bands that made a great record after showing up on an unexpected record label (4AD in 2002).  In my commentary on the best classic rock bands, I noted the impressive proportion of West Coast bands.  It's interesting to ponder where The Mountain Goats might land on an all-time list of bands formed on the West Coast.  That's one more thing for the to-do list.  I've apparently fallen badly behind today.  Is that what muses are for?

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I probably never mentioned to you how much I like these guys. While some of it is, as they say, "clever by half", it's in the right place. I have a hard time believing the Top 200 thing, but if it's on allmusic it must be true!