Now, I have to admit, my thinking on the Modest Mouses isn’t quite as clear as my thinking on The White Stripes, but then I am from the rust belt and not the Pacific Northwest (by the way, as if there’s an “Atlantic” Northwest)? And even Indiana is too far west for me — you can’t get Yuengling, the people talk really slow, and without interrupting each other.
So congrats to Modest Mouse, they’ve put out a bad album, and then gone a whole year without, like, calling Chloe Kardashian a bit**, or lighting their John Deere tractor on fire. The world seems to be continuing to be goin’ to be goin’ on to beat the dag nab band.
And really, Strangers to Ourselves wasn’t even a MEDIOCRE album the way This is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think about was. (To all sitting at home irate at the people who don’t know about this album, there’s hope for your future yet. Car washing.) And The Lonesome Crowded West wasn’t good or great, it was scintillating. And The Moon and Antarctica wasn’t good, great or scintillating, it was transcendent. And then Good News for People Who Love Bad News was great. And then We Were Dead before the Ship Even Sank was good.
Have The White Stripes done this? Put out an album of every imaginable artist’s guild? It depends if you’re stoned or not, maybe.
Anyway, in other words, now that the dust has sort of “settled” on Modest Mouse, they’re no longer simultaneously implausibly erect rock gods and arbiters of indiscriminate torture unto flaccid west coast hipsters, I think we have a better trajectory with which to examine them. But, I think, some of us have been coherent all along, though I must say I was lucky to attend a decently music snob oriented school (Indiana University) and BARELY making the cut of getting into the band before “Float on” (I literally purchased The Moon and Antarctica on CD in January ’04, amidst a swelter of surrounding normalcy) and since then I’ve been privy to an astounding forest of mind-bogglingly inane stances on the subject, some of which have included:
Isaac Brock himself, claiming that his 2000 masterpiece didn’t sound good.
Actually, I read something like he was “horrified” at how it sounded. Dude, you yourself penned one of the songs, the album ends with the following line about human beings: “They ain’t made of nothin’ but water and sh**!” HUMAN BEINGS don’t sound good, Isaac, you’re missing your own point. We NEED that pointless, boisterous clattering during “Gravity Rides Everything,” we NEED for your guitar licks to sound like Joey Santiago on acid… everything rides gravity. That re-release was churlish drivel, by all accounts, not even worthy of entertaining.
A west coast stigma against the band, even their pre-ballooning days
And of course, with heavy LSD usage out there, the vocal synapses regarding my praise of hearing “Gravity Rides Everything” on the intercom would be followed in the subsequent weeks with barely noticeable, moral compunction, manifest as pathetic glances from across the store. Well, what to think. Time to crank up some Oxford Collapse (this was circa 2009).
Meatheads who on one fine morning realize that, Oh my God, this band might be, like, better than Wolfmother, and then attempt to claim that they were fans all along.
Pretty self-explanatory, except that I might offer that this type, though semantically deceitful and generally unfeeling and barbarous, is still slightly preferable to the silent west coast hipster who clenches rectal sphincter and denies that the band has any merit, because the latter is more well-informed, yet still miring in something even worse than mental inactivity — like a sagebrush amoeba reverse-defacation wherein each unfolding thought serves primarily to mock all thoughts hither… there, with that note, even Strangers to Ourselves should sound pretty jolly.