Album Cover
Modest Mouse
Good News for People Who Love Bad News
April 06, 2004


A Modest Mouse album is a sort of sonic bible. I have long been the self-appointed expositor of the ancient texts, and each one I notched on my leather belt. Some of favorite scriptures read, "Opinion were like kittens/I was giving them away," (and I often mutter this when someone tries to deposit their politics in my grill) or the always relevant, "The universe is shaped exactly like the earth/You go straight long enough you'll end up where you were." And so, in utter piety on bended knees, I slowly unwrapped the plastic packaging and did the little thingy that all proper music aficionados do, and that is to open the jewel case by unhinging the bottom and flipping the cover up like a checkbook. As the disc carefully landed into the tray I was thinking only pure thoughts along the lines of "pink must really be the new punk" since the Mouse highlighted this album with the fleshy tone, and their 7" single was fully encapsulated in the color.

I guess at this point the Fates would have a tragic scene prepared for me, one in which I'd say that I've lost my religion and, I don't know, run into the woods, maybe? But, as luck would have it, Good News For People Who Love Bad News is nothing short of pretty in pink. An enjoyable run through from the beginning to end. Nothing to get upset about, and surely nothing to decry as a failure, though many have acted as just such false prophets.

This album finds Modest Mouse using a little slicker production, less whammy bar, and more of the same style of call and response. At current count, there are less epiphany-ridden lyrical content. Though a nice one goes, "Sacrifice the Liver!/ If God takes life he's an Indian giver." Thematically, much of these songs are more of the same from releases past. Brock is certainly unparalleled when dealing with death, isolation, and suffering. So, it seems odd that this album would contain some of the "brightest" songs that Modest Mouse has ever written.

For instance, if I didn't know better I might think that "Float On" is the Mouse's foray into radio pandering. But, I think this is just the ironic nature of Brock trying so very hard to write a song that someone might want to marry to. Because, even if you're a heavy lifter, there are some times that you just want to write a pop song. Well, "Float On" is really an odd techno influenced way to attempt such an endeavor, and ultimately is a bit disappointing. Yet, it is more of just a little brother of a song that you're embarrassed of, and not really the song itself.

I've heard the Good News from about every angle you could possibly think of. And, if I knew someone was on their way to my house with some perceived "good news" I'd certainly run for my life. Interesting has always been turning conventionality on it's square head, and Modest Mouse has always been pedantic at just such a school of thought. As such, their latest album belongs alongside their other releases as something worthy of disciples.

Jacob Daley

Track List

  1. Horn Intro
  2. The World at Large
  3. Float On
  4. Ocean Breathes
  5. Dig Your Grave
  6. Bury Me With It
  7. Dance Hall
  8. Bukowski
  9. This Devil's Workday
  10. The View
  11. Satin in a Coffin
  12. Interlude (Milo)
  13. Blame It on the Tetons
  14. Black Cadillacs
  15. One Chance
  16. The Good Times Are Killing Me