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iTunes Review

John Darnielle's Panasonic boombox had finally died, and his home studio that had figured prominently on his previous albums was no more. However, his new label put him up in a professional recording studio with his old friends Peter Hughes and Franklin Bruno of Nothing Painted Blue. Darnielle wrote the strongest song cycle of his career, starring his "Alpha" couple. They've landed in Florida, apparently to live out their days drinking themselves to death. The opening title track is a death march as powerful in its way as "Nebraska" was for Bruce Springsteen's album. The album proceeds to grow darker, with sad anecdotes and tales laced with black humor. The couple's belongings show up on the moving truck in "First Few Desperate Hours" as their sense of displacement sinks in. "Game Shows Touch Our Lives" is the nearest the couple comes to joy. "No Children" is a screed of bad going to worse, where the childless couple are in love with their demented ways and actually with each other. It's a brilliant album about codependency.

Customer Reviews

Heartbreaking in a soul redeeming way

I can't even believe this album exists. There's just an overbrimming of lyrical talent here. Throwaway lines are ones that should be carved into stone before the volcanoes come. No Children is quite possibly the best song ever penned. If it's not sincere, then Mr. Goat possessed someone else's soul and had the foresight to take copious notes. If it is, then I would have felt bad for him if he hadn't emerged with the song.

This is my favorite album of all time.

No joke. Absolutely brilliant songwriting, and none of the demo static sounds from the past. My jaw literally dropped at least once the first time i listened to each of these songs. I CANNOT stress enough how hooked I am on this album. And on a related note, whoever wrote the Official iTunes review needs a promotion. Spot on, mate.


In my opinion the greatest album of all time, especially from a lyrical complexity standpoint.


Formed: 1991 in Claremont, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Mountain Goats are, for all practical purposes, the endlessly clever and prolific John Darnielle and whatever musicians he surrounds himself with, which means that while the soundscape may change from project to project, the overall tone and feel of Darnielle's work remains remarkably consistent. At his best, he writes finely observed, slightly surreal, impressionistic vignettes that manage to mix life as we live it with life as we wish we could live it, and as such he has more in common with...
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