The Mountain Goats - Tallahassee

The Mountain Goats - Tallahassee
2003; 4AD; All the fuck over

Writing for Styrofoam Boots has brought a distinct shift to my music listening habits. Consuming albums used to be a natural, un planed, sometimes extremely long process. On occasion, especially when I am more busy in my life, I would buy an album and it would sit on the shelf for months before I started to understand its importance. As an album reviewer things are a bit different. I've started buying albums with the intention of absorbing them as quickly as possible as to write a review. Albums that have sat on the shelf for a wile get pushed aside because they feel older in my personal history and less vital.

I bought Tallahassee in late april just before a particularly busy time in my life that has persisted up 'til this very moment. I still don't even nearly know this album. I've listen to it a dozen times at least and yet I still have only the basic appreciation for it. And yet, I feel very strongly that I should delve into it, that there is so much waiting for me beneath the surface for me to get lost in. And maybe to write a review that's enough.

My knowledge of the Mountain Goats before I got this album was pretty sparse. I knew their (his) story about a department store boom box recorder, about the wife he loves and hates, about his rush around the country, about his sudden shift to higher fidelity right around Tallahassee. The music I had listened to was everything I could legally for free, two daytrotter sessions and the 2008 pay what you want ep, as well as you tube videos for the songs No Children and This Year. All of the above were fairly melodic and catchy, they would quickly get stuck in my head and pulse back and forth there for days. And the lyrics, wow, after the melody had cleared way from my skull the words would linger on forever. There is something so rich and poetic about them wile at the same time they use very little metaphor, instead telling stories using rather direct language. But it was no children that grabbed my soul and for the first couple days I listened to it forty times each.

I suppose all this added to the contrast when I herd Tallahassee. The songs were not catchy they were pulsing, almost mantras repeated from a mind in denial, every song a different one. There are a few stand out tracks but for the most part the album plays less like a strait line and more like the circling air in a tornado gaining speed. Through it tells the story of the Alpha Couple, two married lovers spoken of often in previous Mountain Goats songs, who move to a house they had never seen before purchasing it in Tallahassee, Florida. Two people who love each other until they hate each other, until they wish the other would drink themselves to death, until they want to kill themselves, as the house starts to fall apart around them. I know this story just because I have been told it. It is there in the lyrics but the lyrics are not yet in me. The songs are mostly acoustic, with some other instruments thrown in here or there, and they come off sounding like a Dylan who hates himself much more then he hates other people.

Then there's No Children. If I were to guess I think I'll be talking about No Children in a year like I talk about Heroin now. It is and will and has changed my life. It was the compression of all the thoughts I had been having into words and song. Its about how after a certain point you don't want it to get better, you want everything worse. You want yourself to get to the bottom point and then see how much lower it can be. It once and for all discredits the fight club mantra of "break down to build up" stating instead that we have always wanted to break down to break down to break down until we die or kill ourselves. I hope it stays dark forever. The song reaches its climax with "I hope you die! I hope we both die!" words I want to shout from mountain tops words I want tattooed on my mind words that are the slogan of our generation. I have found myself playing the song on the street and shouting those words at confused strangers, I don't know why I do this. I don't make money on that song, at least not from anyone who is paying attention.

Before purchasing the album I read on official band website/extreme fan site mountain-goats.com a girl saying she first got into the Mountain Goats when she took a road trip with a friend and the only music in the car was a cassette tape of Tallahassee that got played over and over. I recently took a road trip with my mother across the country and as we drove my biggest regret was that I didn't do the same.

1. Tallahassee
2. First Few Desperate Hours
3. Southwood Plantation
4. Game Shows Touch Our Lives
5. The House That Dripped Blood
6. Idylls Of The Kings
7. No Children
8. See American Right
9. Peacocks
10. International Small Arms Traffic Blues
11. Have To Explode
12. Old College Try
13. Oceanographer's Choice
14. Alpha Rats Nest

my love is like a dark cloud full of rain, always right there up above you

No comments:

Post a Comment