Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Mountain Goats: This Year

I first heard The Mountain Goats from the radio station we're always talking about, The Current. The first song they were playing was the title track from their newest full-length, Heritic Pride, which I thought was pretty good--It didn't change my life upon the first hearing, but it did stick with me enough to want to blog about it. What attracted me was the pretty simple lo-fi sound paired with really beautiful lyrics about the execution of an unnamed heretic.

When I started doing some research for the blog, I stumbled on their song "This Year" from their 2005 release The Sunset Tree. Where "Heretic Pride" was what a considered a nice song having a lot going for it, but still kind of forgettable, "This Year" made me hit the Replay button six times in a row.

It's the same lo-fi sound: just an acoustic guitar, drums, piano, bass, and lead singer John Darnielle's nasal tenor. Again, it's the lyrics that really get me. It's about that restlessness of being young and on the precipice of really starting your own life, but still being pretty immature and still under someone's thumb. With so many songs about adolescent frustration or ennui, it's rare that any of them can get their meaning across anymore. "This Year" did so wonderfully for me. Take a read real quick:

I also can't help but inject my own personal interpretation into it. This has been a bad year for a lot of different people, it seems. Many people I know (myself included) have experienced all sorts of random unfortunate events like being mugged, getting hit by a car, getting laid off, getting dumped, and everyone just has this feeling of uncertainty in themselves and the world in general.

It's hard to be optimistic lately, but I've kind of adopted "This Year" as a theme song, repeating the chorus to myself when The Man is trying to put me down: I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me.

Lyrics:

I broke free on a Saturday morning
I put the pedal to the floor
Headed north on Mills Avenue
And listened to the engine roar

My broken house behind me
And good things ahead
A girl named Cathy
Wants a little of my time
Six cylinders underneath the hood
Crashing and kicking
Aha!
Listen to the engine whine

I am gonna make it through this year
If it kills me
I am gonna to make it though this year
If it kills me

I played video games in a drunken haze
I was seventeen years young
Hurt my knuckles punching the machines
The taste of scotch rich on my tongue

And then Cathy showed up
And we hung out
Trading swigs from a bottle
All bitter and clean
Locking eyes
Holding hands
Twin high maintenance machines

I am gonna make it through this year
If it kills me
I am gonna to make it though this year
If it kills me

I drove home in the California dusk
I could feel the alcohol inside of me hum
Pictured the look on my stepfather's face
Ready for the bad things to come
I downshifted
As I pulled into the driveway
The motor screaming out
Stuck in second gear
The scene ends badly
As you might imagine
In a cavalcade of anger and fear

There will be feasting and dancing
In Jerusalem next year

I am gonna make it through this year
If it kills me
I am gonna to make it though this year
If it kills me

1 comment:

Kelsey said...

Krista- you're cute :)

PS> I'm supposed to be doing H/W not checking on past blogs.... whatever. :)