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#MusicMonday: Best of Modest Mouse

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Ya’ll ready to say bai to my street cred? Me too.

In my posts I’ve alluded to the fact that despite my deep love of trap music, I occasionally listen to music featuring white people and guitars. When I listen to said music, it was most likely recorded prior to 2006 by one of four bands: the Strokes, the Velvet Underground, Radiohead, and, last and definitely not least, Modest Mouse.

Modest Mouse is my favorite band of all time. I could write a damn novella here, but I’ll try to keep it succinct. I love how both lyrically and sonically, Modest Mouse songs capture the vast range of the human condition – the ups and downs, the ebbs and flows, the darkness and the light. Just when you think a song cannot get darker or more terrifying, a chord change casts sunlight on the track and wraps you in a warm blanket. The unifying theme throughout their five albums and six EPs is along the lines of the following: sometimes life is shitty, but sometimes it “takes shit to make bliss,” sometimes you’re heartbroken, and “broken hearts want broken necks”… but in the end, “gravity rides everything” and it all falls into place.

I’m well aware that my deep and intense feelings for the band is likely due to the fact that I started listening to them around the time that I had deep and intense feelings about, well, everything. I was 17. And I can’t imagine my angsty high school years without Modest Mouse. I remember blasting Good News for People Who Love Bad News from my family’s desktop while I feverishly studied my SAT vocab words and my infinitely cooler younger sister smoked weed in the other room. Float On was the mantra that carried my sister through turbulent relationships with cheating boyfriends and me through my equally tempestuous relationship with my schoolwork. When we saw them in concert, we both cried. My sister and I will probably never stop talking about getting matching Float On tattoos, but we’ll never actually get them, because, let’s be real.

Modest Mouse is scheduled to release their first album in eight years – Strangers to Ourselves – on March 17. I likely will not listen because I’m fickle and it’s 2015, but the album and recently released singles (one of which allegedly took front-man Issac Brock 20 years to write) present a good opportunity to reflect on some tunes very close to my heart. Enjoy the tracks and poetry below.

“Float On” (2004) / Good News for People Who Love Bad News

Bad news comes, don't you worry even when it lands

Good news will work it way to all them plans

We both got fired on, exactly, the same day

Well, we'll float on, good news is on the way

3d Planet” (2000) / The Moon & Antarctica

The universe is shaped exactly like the earth,

if you go straight long enough you’ll end up where you were.

“The World At Large” (2004) / Good News for People Who Love Bad News

The moths beat themselves to death against the lights,

adding their breeze to the summer nights.

“Broke” (2000) / Building Nothing Out of Something

Broken hearts want broken necks

I've done some things that I want to forget but I can't

Broke my pace and ran out of time

Sometimes I'm so full of shit that it should be a crime

“Night on the Sun” (2001) / Everywhere and His Nasty Parlor Tricks

You're hopelessly hopeless

I hope so, for you

“Out of Gas” (1997) / The Lonesome Crowded West

And I had a drink the other day

Opinions were like kittens

I was giving them away

“Paper Thin Walls” (2000) / The Moon and Antarctica

It's been agreed, the whole world stinks

So no one's taking showers anymore

“Dramamine” (1996) / This is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About

We kiss on the mouth

but still cough down our sleeves

“Black Cadillacs” (2004) / Good News for People Who Love Bad News

And it's true we named our children

After towns that we've never been to

And it's true that the clouds just hung around

Like black Cadillacs outside a funeral

“Gravity Rides Everything” (2000) / The Moon & Antarctica

When we die, some sink and some lay

But at least, I don't see you float away

And all the spilt milk, sex and weight

It all will fall, fall right into place

“The Good Times Are Killing Me” (2004) / Good News for People Who Love Bad News

Got dirt, got air, got water and I know you can carry on.

Shrug off shortsighted false excitement and oh what can I say?

Have one, have twenty more "one mores" and oh it does not relent.

“Heart Cooks Brain” (1997) / The Lonesome Crowded West

In this place that I call home

My brain's the cliff

And my heart's the bitter buffalo

“The View” (2004) / Good News for People Who Love Bad News

As life gets longer, awful feels softer

Well, it feels pretty soft to me

And if it takes shit to make bliss

Well, I feel pretty blissfully

“Bukowski” (2004) / Good News for People Who Love Bad News

If God takes life, he’s an Indian giver.

“I Came as a Rat” (2000) / The Moon & Antarctica

I came as ice, I came as a whore

I came as advice that came too short

I came as gold, I came as crap

I came clean and I came as a rat

“Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset” (1996) / This is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About

Changed my mind so much I can't even trust it

My mind changed me so much I can't even trust myself

“Sleepwalkin’” (2000) / Building Nothing Out of Something

I fell in love and I needed a roadmap.

One Chance” (2004) / Good News for People Who Love Bad News

Didn't mean to laugh

Didn't know I had

Didn't know the better part of what you said

'Cause in your head you are not home

“Trailer Trash” (1997) / The Lonesome Crowded West

Eating snow flakes with plastic forks

And a paper plate of course, you think of everything

Short love with a long divorce and a couple of kids of course

They don't mean anything

“Fire It Up” (2007) / We Were Dead Before The Ship Evan Sank

Oh we ate all of the oranges

Off the navels of our lovers

Grabbed a book and read the cover

“Florida” (2007) / We Were Dead Before The Ship Evan Sank

I wasn't always cargo, I was kind of my own

I guess I'll pack up my mind

I it took so much effort not to make an effort

Oh, what a flawless design

“Ocean Breaths Salty” (2004) / Good News for People Who Love Bad News

For your sake, I hope heaven and hell are really there… but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

You wasted life, why wouldn’t you waste death?

Polar Opposites” (1997) / The Lonesome Crowded West

I'm trying, I'm trying to drink away

The part of the day that I cannot sleep away

“Dark Center of the Universe” (2000) / The Moon and Antarctica

Everyone's life ends, but no one ever completes it

Dry or wet ice, they both melt and you're equally cheated

“The Stars are Projectors” (2000) / The Moon and Antarctica

The stars are projectors yeah, projecting our lives down to this planet Earth.

Everyone wants a double feature. They wanna be their own damn teacher.

By Anna Dorn

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