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    aught music : 2002 : "the best ever death metal band in denton" by the mountain goats

    This was my contribution to the All Hail West Texas roundtable, which happened last week at the Aught Music decade-in-review blog:

    I've sort of given up on the idea that songs should tell stories. When a song can glean so much potency and emotional force from the use of non-narrative devices such as direct address ("Love, love me do") or declarative expression ("I got soul / and I'm super bad"), one begins to develop a skepticism towards the whole endeavor of burdening songs with narrative elements.

    Of course, a tradition doesn't last for five hundred years unless there's good work being done within it, and so it stands to reason that the Aughts might contain their share of good narrative songs. Someone hunting for these need look no further than the Mountain Goats' 2002 album All Hail West Texas, which explicitly states its narrative intentions directly on its album cover: "fourteen songs about seven people, two houses, a motorcycle, and a locked treatment facility for adolescent boys."

    I've never been exactly able to work out which of the fourteen songs were supposed to be about which of the seven people, but why quibble? Especially when the album contains mini-narratives like "The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton," which lasts two minutes and thirty-six seconds and is one of the best stories told this decade, in any medium, period.

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    Tuesday, July 14, 2009
    11:21 AM


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