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We Shall All Be Healed

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Editors’ Notes

With 2003’s Tallahassee, John Darnielle broke from his ‘lo-fi’ past and recorded in a legitimate recording studio with a handful of pals who added the necessary accompaniment. For 2004’s We Shall All Be Healed, the sound becomes even more lush, strings poking out, harmonies twisting the melodies around. But no matter how much you polish a Mountain Goats album, it always comes down to Darnielle’s excited yelps and pleas and the compacted intensity of his lyrics. “Palmcorder Yajna” may be his most perfect short story yet, as it narrates from the mind of a meth addict the comings and goings of his friends and the narrator’s increasingly paranoid state. “Mole” observes a heavily medicated friend in intensive care. “Your Belgian Things” expresses the emptiness that occurs when life is permanently altered. “All Up the Seething Coast” catalogs a sugar-laden diet and the random, obsessive thoughts that it creates. “Against Pollution” channels the catharsis of retributive violence and the healing properties of religion. Darnielle is a songwriter of ideas and he never runs out of words or details to express them. Fascinating.

Customer Reviews

Absolutely Incredible

Darnielle's songwriting was at an absolute peak for this album. Every song is a story of incredible depth, paired with excellent instrumentals: "Linda Blair was Born Innocent" has the most gorgeous string section I've heard in a pop song since Ben Folds Five's "Magic." While it still focuses on Darnielle's vocals paired with frenetic acoustic strumming, it's as close to perfection in his peculiar art as anything else out there. Perhaps my favorite thing about Mountain Goats as a band and especially this album is how he manages to craft solid rhymes that never feel contrived, like he's been sitting by his computer with a rhyming dictionary. Each song is a story of its own but it also holds together well as a concept, all being written about a bunch of meth addicts and their various mental and physical issues. I can't say enough in praise of this album, I've been listening to it for basically two weeks straight and it hasn't gone stale. Five stars, easy.

A Cautionary Tale Songwriting Classic

Like an American version of Trainspotting (but much better) in song form. This is my favorite Mountain Goats album. If you can find the b-sides that go with this album I highly recommend that as well.

Letter for Belgium

We could always use some more!


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...
Full Bio