Could We Please Not Talk About My Modest Mouse Phase?
Listen, I know you were there for the worst of it. And I am truly grateful that you didn’t abandon me during that time. I mean, if you would have gone through, say, an intense period where you listened to nothing but Of Montreal, we wouldn’t still be friends at this juncture. But it’s been almost a decade since it happened, and I’m not as sad as I used to be. So could we please stop talking about that time in my life where I listened to nothing but the first four Modest Mouse records on endless repeat until everyone around me stopped returning my texts because they liked the band, sure, but there was just so much good music out there so why should they have been forced to listen exclusively to that specific collection of songs just because I wouldn’t let anyone else touch my stereo?
In all fairness, my Modest Mouse phase came at a dark time in my life. I was a college graduate in my mid-twenties and the world had not bent over backwards to accommodate my wildest dreams, so I was all like, What the fuck, god? (even though I didn’t believe in god, which is all the same anyway since I never got an answer to that question). And as a privileged white guy whose only adversity stemmed from the absolute disconnect between the world I was promised and the world I got, I took solace in the self-pitying lyrical content depicted by Isaac Brock. And while you can talk shit about the merits of white guys singing the blues (as I do all the time as a late 30-something), Brock had a gift of crafting everyman poetry to express a kind of existential shrug at the indignities and profound disappointments that one is likely to encounter in life. And as much as I love all forms of punk rock, sometimes you just gotta listen to that kind of sad dude rock instead of “Hey, ho, let’s go,” and “Gimme, gimme, gimmee.” (Or at least that’s what I tell myself so I don’t feel so bad about the musical decisions I made in times of gloomy self-obsession.)
But anyway, there’s no question the band is good. And I know that you know that. You’re point is that maybe during those dark indie-rock-laden days of self-pity, I should have probably broadened my horizons. Of course you’re right, but there’s nothing I can do about that now. Which brings me to my point: with so much out there to talk about, could we please focus on less embarrassing eras of my life? Like the time I got really into John Waters’ movies, had all those bad dreams, and bought a bunch of ‘60s and ‘70s pop records. Or that time I got an old guy hat, started calling everyone “cat,” and bought a lot of used jazz records. Or that time I grew a beard, forced myself to like bourbon, and procured the entire ZZ Top catalog.
Or, we could even have a chat about the embarrassments in your life. From my perspective, that would be satisfying on a very deep level.
Oh no? That last thing? You don’t want to talk about that at all? You don’t want me drudging up those 23 months where you drank nothing but wine spritzers, tried to rename your roommate’s cat, and listened to nothing but Heart because no one else spoke to your soul or rocked you to the bone the way they did? Well then, it’s agreed. So why don’t we just all float on, okay? Alright!
Oh, and sorry about my current New Order phase. Hopefully it will end soon.
[This article originally appeared in #32 of the print edition of The Yellow Rake. If you would like a copy, email here: email@example.com]