Monday, April 11, 2011

Mountain Goats Playlist: Ranking the Albums

John Darnielle and the Mountain Goats are a personal favorite and one the most interesting groups working today, especially for someone obsessed with lists. I have nearly 400 Mountain Goats songs across dozens of albums, EPs, and unreleased tracks. The list opportunities are endless (top "Going to..." songs, top non-Tallahassee Alpha Couple songs, top Panasonic rx-ft500 songs, top use of song titles that don't appear in the lyrics, etc.) but let's start with something simple: With the release of All Eternals Deck, please find below my personal ranking of the Mountain Goats long players, including The Extra (G)Len(n)s.

The rankings show that I am not firmly in either the pre-2002 or post-2002 camp. My favorite MG albums weight towards the more recent output, but so do the least compelling. I used the All Music Guide definition of his LPs (so Nine Black Poppies counts but Hail and Farewell, Gothenburg does not) and I have included the Shrimper compilations.

The playlist at the bottom has my favorite song from each album. The tracks on the playlist aren't necessarily the source of the quotes, as noted.

Top Mountain Goat Albums
  1. All Hail West Texas (2002)
    "900 cc's of raw whining power / no outstanding warrants for my arrest" (Jenny)
  2. Tallahassee (2002)
    "I am drowning / there is no sign of land / you are coming down with me / hand in unlovable hand" (No Children)
  3. Heretic Pride (2007)
    "And I feel proud to be alive / and I feel so proud when the reckoning arrives" (Heretic Pride)
  4. The Sunset Tree (2005)
    "On the day my lung collapses / it's not gonna be much different" (Song for Dennis Brown)
  5. We Shall All Be Healed (2004)
    "Drop your seeds there / let them go / let them all go" (Cotton)
  6. Bitter Melon Farm (1993-1996)
    "In the impossibly large office of the death-dealing physician" (The Bad Doctor)
  7. Sweden (1995)
    "And you tell me that Hercules died burning consumed by an article of his own clothing / that's something I'd rather not be reminded of" (Deianara Crush)
  8. Martial Arts Weekend (as The Extra Glenns) (2002)
    "Our love is like Jesus / but worse" (Going to Marrakesh)
  9. All Eternals Deck (2011)
    "It's so good to learn that from right here the view goes on forever" (Never Quite Free)
  10. Zopliote Machine (1994)
    "And I know that you're wearing a wire / but as the sun becomes a blazing orange ball of fire / I lose interest in this and other such inconsequential questions" (Orange Ball of Love)
  11. Undercard (as The Extra Lens) (2010)
    "And the last thing / I saw before falling unconscious / was your right hand / tracing a heart on my thigh / and I thought / my God, what an infantile gesture / and I thought / my God, what an indescribable high" (How I Left the Ministry)
  12. Full Force Galesburg (1997)
    "We knew we'd hit the mother lode" (Twin Human Highway Flares)
  13. Nine Black Poppies (1995)
    "Sun flashing red and then orange and then opting for secession" (I Know You've Come to Take My Toys Away)
  14. The Coroner's Gambit (1995)
    "And you gathered your hair behind your head / like god was gonna catch you by the pony tail" (There Will Be No Divorce)
  15. Ghana (1993-1996)
    "There are no pan-Asian supermarkets down in hell" (Golden Boy)
  16. Nothing For Juice (1996)
    "Die hard / die kicking / old habit of mine" (Waving at You)
  17. The Life of the World to Come (2009)
    "And I am witness / to your life and to its worth" (Matthew 25:21)
  18. Protein Source of the Future ... Now! (1993-1996)
    "I've got something I need to tell you / I can feel your smile burning through / and I am leaving you, and I am sorry" (Omega Blaster)
  19. Get Lonely (2006)
    "And I stood there like a businessman waiting for a train / and I got ready for the future to arrive" (Woke Up New)


  1. Our friends say it's darkest before the sun rises,
    We're pretty sure they're all wrong

  2. Thank you for the puppy.
    Thank you for the lamp.
    Thank you for the books.
    Thanks for the filing cabinet; I don't know what I did without it.