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Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Everyone else is doing it...
...so I may as well chime in with a few scattered thoughts on Modest Mouse's new album.
- What's the deal with the title? Good News for People Who Love Bad News? Is the "good news" actually good news or bad news? Are we to assume that the good news is actually bad news since its intended audience is people who love bad news? Or is this real-deal, uncut, 100% pure good news that sure to piss off all the fans of bad news out there? If this is the case, wouldn't this alleged good news be both good AND bad?
- The album would make a perfect soundtrack for a wolverine slumber party held in a dream house built by Barbie and leased to Jethro Tull (yes, I'm very proud of this sentence). Despite its '80s synth sound and allusions to new wave bubblegum, Issac Brock's brand of backwoods philosophical musings sound the same as what's appeared on the band's previous albums. One minute, the album is lollygagging through slap-happy popland and the next Brock is howling about logs like a certain Bone Machine.
- The first single, "Float On" has been getting steady airplay in Portland. It seems tailor-made for Clear Channel. The first time I heard it, completely out of context, I thought it was a parody of late '80s REM. It kicks off with a nice U2 riff and offers a memorable, singable chorus. With that said, what the hell is this song all about? Given Modest Mouse's last album, I thought it a vapid little pop song dripping with bitter, unrelenting sarcasm; a fox in chicken's clothing. Now that I've given the lyrics a quick look over, I'm beginning to think I've given it too much credit. This really is just a vapid pop song, isn't it?
Still, there's the chorus as the song fades out. The lead singer sounds like he's rolling his eyes as he sings "we'll all float on."
- The album, right around 45 minutes in length, still feels overlong. There's too much filler, it isn't the least bit cohesive and the last three tracks drag on forever. Modest Mouse seems bent of appealing to the kids and this is long way from Lonesome Crowded West. If the intent here was to produce a radio-friendly album with subversive lyrics, the album fails after track 7 or so.
Good News is easily the band's messiest and doesn't hold a candle to the last two. There's nothing on here worthy of "Teeth Like God's Shoeshine" or "3rd Planet." Sometimes de-evolution works but Good News is closer to Liz Phair s/t than it is to Born in the USA. Maybe my standards are too high but this gets a C+ from me.