Something to Read When You're Bored

Why do I Love This Song???
February 5, 2008, 11:47 pm
Filed under: Music | Tags:

I am completely captivated by the song No Children by The Mountain Goats. It has a clean, simple melody and the most sublimely dismal lyrics ever. It goes beyond pessimism and pulls you into an alluring world of exalting in misery. I tried to pick out favorite lyrics, but found it impossible since they’re all so deliciously bleak (I pretty much ended up typing out all of the lyrics). But just to give you a taste, the song begins with:

– I hope that our few remaining friends give up on trying to save us –

and ends with

– and I hope you die; I hope we both die

The start of the second verse really gets to me too:

– I hope I cut myself shaving tomorrow; I hope it bleeds all day long –

I think it’s the attention to detail that appeals to me there, a reminder that trivial things can be miserable too. It’s just a great song to sing along to, your mind gets to try on the fascinating idea of just letting life suck and even daring it to suck more.

But I think the real magic of this song is in the delivery of those grim lyrics. They’re sung in such a matter-of-fact and almost cheerful way that you sense there’s something else going on beneath the surface. It reminds me of how I used to love oldies that paired devastatingly sad lyrics with happy, pop-y tunes, like Bye Bye Love or The Last Kiss (the version by Billy Joe Royal, before it was re-done by Pearl Jam). Maybe that’s where the allure is, in trying to figure out why it makes me feel so good to sing along with lyrics that should be so depressing. Well, in the spirit of the song:

– I hope that I never figure it out; I hope that I die trying –


Here’s a video of the band doing a live performance of No Children. It gives you a decent sense of the song, but I think the original album cut is better. Odds are if you’re reading this blog, you can just ask me and I’ll play the song for you sometime, or maybe even burn you a CD.

(I thought about including the lyrics here too, but it’s so much better to hear them in the song)


2 Comments so far
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Ooh, this is a good song. I also really like “This Year” by the Mountain Goats, although that’s way more uplifting: “I am going to make it through this year if it kills me…”

Comment by Kate

‘This Year’ was more or less my theme song when I was training for the marathon, I totally love The Mountain Goats. I think they’re playing at Neumo’s on February 23, anyone wanna go with me?

Comment by Linsey

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