The Mountain GOATs

The Mountain Goats is probably still my favorite band of all time. I absorbed a lot of the tape deck lore back in college. “02-75” is named after the drop box John and his wife would share letters in before they married.

“Going to Georgia” might be about anyone. It might be about you. Or me. This may be the song I’ve listened to most in my entire life and it can still bring me to the edge of my emotive seat.

“This Year” was about John surviving high school with an abusive stepfather and doing so with plucky aplomb. This was the song that got me into the band, when I was a suburban high schooler with a nice life and anxieties.

“I Love You. Let’s Light Ourselves on Fire” is from a completely unreleased tMG album. It was sped up or mixed wrong or something, so his voice is a pitch higher.

“It Froze Me” is one of the best examples of that turning-wheel tapedeck sound from John’s early work that instantly puts me into a tranquil mood. I think I bought a guitar solely based on this band and it was one of the first songs I learned (it’s pretty easy to play!).

I wanted to learn guitar like J Darnielle so badly I even started paying for a guitar teacher with my meager college funds. The teacher used a method of just teaching me how to play songs I liked, so I brought in CD after CD of tMG songs and he listened to them by ear and taught me several. The teacher was a really old guy who had released a few country albums in Tucson; he seemed perpetually baffled by tMG’s appeal to me.

“Golden Boy” is one of the few songs he won’t play live. Every live show he does, he’ll play the deepest cuts imaginable, often at the urging of members of the crowd shouting out titles. “Alpha Sun Hat!!” or “Alpha Desperation March!!” or “Going to Bolivia!!” people will scream–words incomprehensible to fans of the latest album, but I’d guess most people in in the audience are at least familiar with the Alpha series of songs.

The Mountain Goats is my favorite band. I’m gonna listen to “Going to Georgia” a few more times.




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