Thursday, July 30, 2009

2002 : 39-40 Aught Music Roundtable: Tallahassee by the Mountain Goats

Roundtable Part One: "No Children"

I didn't realize, until I came to write a blurb for this song, that the Mountain Goats are not a local band. They seem to have an enormous cult following in Philadelphia. Granted, my circle of friends might not be a representative sample of the population, but I don't know anyone here who can't sing along with "No Children." The over-the-top meanness crosses the line into self-parody pretty early on, a condition which is all too familiar for "the city that booed Santa" (as the national media is quick to remind us). Still, like Philadelphia, this song has some warmth hidden within which cuts the viciousness down a notch. The lyrics may be about a couple that hates each other so much that they decide to drink themselves to death, but it manages to inspire enough camaraderie that I have witnessed more than one impromptu public sing-along when this plays, complete with linked arms slung over the shoulders of near-strangers. Aw, shucks. We ain't so bad.

Angela Smith

Roundtable Part Two: "Southwood Plantation Road"

I got you
You've got whatever's left in me to get
Our conversations are like minefields
No one's found a safe way through one yet

I have never had a relationship like the ones described in the Mountain Goats songs. Luckily I have only seen them from the outside. I have known people in these relationships. I love the way John Darnielle finds to describe disfunction and hurt. It is just amazing to me to have so many songs like this and so many of them be great. He really knows how to write a lyric.

I am not gonna lose you
We are gonna stay married
In this house like a Louisiana graveyard
Where nothing stays buried on Southwood Plantation Road
Where the dead will walk again
Put on their Sunday best
And then go with unsuspecting Christian men
La la la la

Rich Thomas

Listen: The Mountain Goats >> "No Children" | "Southwood Plantation Road"

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