morning folks! we’re back on intended schedule with the next album in our discography review – The Mountain Goat’s second full studio album, Sweden, released in 1995. let’s check it out!

The Recognition Scene continues to prove that Darnielle knows how to start a record. the chorus here so pleadingly knowing the end is coming and being unable to change it – good shit. Downtown Seoul is a very nostalgic song – about a moment in time, preserved. Some Swedish Trees is an excellent little song – a turbulent moment, for sure, but really works well here. I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone is a jazz song from 1947, written by Buddy Johnson. Darnielle does a very interesting rendition here, but it really makes me want some kind of interaction between the Mountain Goats and the Decemberists, haha. Deianara Crush, named after Hercules’ lover (whose impact on Hercules is mentioned in the song), has a fantastic groove to it. the bit of bass peeking up in the background is excellent. Whole Wide World’s aight. Flash Lights is a quieter, moodier song. Sept 16 Triple X Love! Love! has a funky start with an audio sample that feels like a radio cut. this song’s balancing a line between passive aggression and devotion. real real good. Going to Queens does some very fun stuff, vocally, with Rachel Ware’s vocals front and center and Darnielle’s vocals almost shadowing them. neat effect. Tahitian Ambrosia Maker is very solid at the halfway point, a moment of connection around songs about falling apart, haha. i don’t think i have tons to say about Going to Bolivia. Tollund Man is about a swamp body from Denmark – this song is about his final moments. California Song reminds me of another song, but i can’t place it – i swear he does this kinda drum machine/synth thing on another track in the future, and i think this one’s just fine. Snow Crush Killing Song is quieter, almost sweeter, a tragedy given the subject matter, of someone asking for warmth in the cold. Send Me An Angel feels like an aftermath, which is interesting given that this happens before the events. another song that i feel plays in the same space the Decemberists write. Neon Orange Glimmer Song eases us towards the end of the record after the quieter moments of the last two songs, though it interestingly feels like it closes out the cycle. it’s been that hour or two the narrator was singing about in Send Me An Angel, and now he’s coming to. oooh i had no idea FM was a Steely Dan cover the first few times i listened to it. definitely cuts out some the middle of the track, but it works really well! Prana Ferox is an interesting song that’s both about brewing alcohol but also, brewing trouble. v on theme for this record, haha. Cold Milk Bottle closes us out, referencing another jazz standard on the way out, haha.

faves – The Recognition Scene, Some Swedish Trees, Deianara Crush, Sept 16 Triple Love! Love!, FM
dislikes –

on a radio appearance for Gothenburg Radio, Darnielle talked about the title of the record being metaphorical, that it represents the furthest place you can run to. it’s not hard to see that through line here either – many of these songs are about something that was good falling apart (not uncommon for Mountain Goats tracks, haha), but there’s an interesting perspective here, like you’ve gone as far as you can and now you’re riding out the storm. i think this one’s a very strong record – with 19 tracks and 45 minutes total, it moves very fast. it’s both a blessing and a curse, as there are songs i wish had a bit more, but also the album doesn’t spend a ton of time on the places where i think it’s less successful. plenty to dig into here.

Sweden – 7/10

there’s a few EPs that were technically released around here, but were gathered on compilations that take some of the limited release stuff from the early years and package them together – we’re gonna cover those when they come up, as that’s when those songs would have been more widely available. Our next stop is gonna be Nine Black Poppies, also from 1995.

the beginning: Zopilote Machine | previous: Beautiful Rat Sunset | next: Nine Black Poppies

all my reviews for The Mountain Goats