For any indie band or musician that’s attained even a moderate amount of success, the threat of “selling out” looms large. Not actually selling out – though that’s always a possibility – but of being deemed a “sell out” as your sound changes of the years.
I have to think that’s something John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats has spent some time thinking about over the years. His early, lo-fi cassettes gained a cult following, but over the course of more than a decade, his music has changed. The heavy themes and complex lyrics remain, but the solo acoustic guitar has been replaced by more elaborate music arrangements. And these changes have lead many to proclaim, “I liked his earlier stuff better.”
Okay, I’m guilty of this too, which is probably why I’ve been neglecting The Mountain Goat’s latest release, Transcendental Youth, for so long. But I’m trying to listen with open ears and an open mind. And you know what? It’s growing on me. Here’s what Darnielle had to say about the track:
It is about survival but that’s kind of an oversimplification, it’s also about building a vehicle from the defeated pieces of the thing you survived and piloting that vehicle through the cosmos, it’s kind of complicated but people who know what I’m talking about will kind of intuitively get the idea and the rest of you will I hope be able to get a sense of it through the song.
Check out the song below, and grab a free download if you’d like:
Lyrics to Consider: “Some people crash two or three times / And then learn from their mistakes / But we are the ones who don’t slow down at all”