Mountain Goats album blows away indie peers
On his last album, The Sunset Tree, James Darnielle (aka the Mountain Goats) expunged the demons looming over him after the death of his abusive step-father. While that album was near joyous in both its music and storyline, the newest album, Get Lonely, follows on the same train as 2002's Tallahassee: raw emotion, incredibly compelling lyrics and Darnielle's uncanny ability to paint an image in the listener's mind.
The album begins with the narrator, like many other literary characters, simply wandering and wondering what just happened, never quite mentioning what is wrong. The listener does not discover what the narrator is thinking until the third song, ""Half Dead,"" where it becomes apparent he is pining over his recently lost love.
The beauty of the album is in the truthfulness and realism of the situations described. ""Moon Over Goldsboro"" tells of the narrator being depressed to the point of delusion, so that even after the breakup he still claims, ""I lay right down next to you / Held your head against my chest."" In the end, though, he simply will, ""Spend all night in the company of ghosts, always wake up alone.""
By the time the narrator gets to ""Woke Up New,"" the ninth of 12 tracks, the delusion is still present but slight insanity creeps in slowly to replace it, ""On the morning when I woke up without you for the first time / I felt free ... And I began to talk to myself almost immediately / Not being used to being the only person there.""
The final three songs continue on this thread while quickening the pace. ""If You See the Light"" sends the music rushing as the narrator tries ""waiting all winter"" for his friends and family to give up trying to save him. In ""Cobra Tattoo,"" the bass line swirls in and out of sync with the music, all while the lyrics go back and forth about salvation with God and cobras with garbled radio transmissions. The last song ends with either a baptism or suicide, either one bringing the final peace the narrator longs for throughout the album.
For most of his career as the Mountain Goats, Darnielle recorded on a boombox with nothing more than an acoustic guitar. This album demonstrates his growth, finding him adding more depth to his final compositions. Unlike some artists who pray the audience doesn't actually pay attention to what they are saying, Darnielle keeps his voice as the instrument at the forefront, leaving everything else delegated below it.
Though depressing and perhaps a bit too close to home for those who are recently out of a relationship, the Mountain Goats come through with an album that inspires a listener that there is still poetry in lyrics out there, beyond rhyming ""I'm your slave"" and ""Whip me if I misbehave.""
Subscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter