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The Mountain Goats Ranked

They've become one of my favourite bands over the past couple of years. No other person in music comes close to matching John Darnielle's songwriting prowess and lyrical genius (in my most humble opinion), and the amount of music he has produces is staggering. At long last, I have heard it all. This ranking does not include EPs, or the compilations, meaning a lot of his early cassette recordings are not represented. For the sake of keeping it somewhat simple, I've just ranked his 18 full-length releases.
18The Mountain Goats
Hot Garden Stomp

An early cassette from 1993. Darnielle's magic is missing a bit here and some of the
songs are completely forgettable, though there is some good to be found here.
17The Mountain Goats
Taboo VI: The Homecoming

The oldest thing on the list, this cassette was an interesting representation of
Darnielle's style, but not one that showcased his brilliance, at least not consistently. 3.1/5
16The Mountain Goats
The Life Of The World To Come

A relatively weak effort by The Mountain Goats pt. 2 (studio version) but still a
great album. 3.4/5
15The Mountain Goats
Zopilote Machine

In many ways, this was The Mountain Goat's first "official" LP. More cohesive than
earlier works, but Darnielle still had tweaking to do. 3.5/5
14The Mountain Goats
The Hound Chronicles

The second oldest album on this list, this 1992 release brilliantly captures Darnielle's
unique songwriting approach, flaws and all. 3.6/5
13The Mountain Goats

1995 produced two great Mountain Goats albums. 3.8/5
12The Mountain Goats
Nothing For Juice

An album with a distinct charm and likability, even if it is quite rough around the
edges. 3.9/5
11The Mountain Goats
Heretic Pride

A marvelous album that gets often overlooked (by me as well) in favour of similar
but somehow more distinct and satisfying. 4/5
10The Mountain Goats
Get Lonely

The lovely Adam Thomas put it brilliantly: "the mountain goats album for when you
realize everything is your fault and you just want to die" 4.1/5 (both the album and
the quote)
9The Mountain Goats
All Eternals Deck

A soaring return to top form after one of their overall weakest albums. 4.3/5, and
Damn These Vampires is one of their best songs.
8The Mountain Goats
Full Force Galesburg

The sound of The Mountain Goats starting to build towards something immense.
Their last album before the BIG 5. 4.4/5
7The Mountain Goats
Hail and Farewell, Gothenburg

An underrated and largely overlooked work by the 1995 rendition of The Mountain
Goats. They're still finding their feet a little bit, but there are flickers of genius reminiscent of later classics. 4.4/5
6The Mountain Goats
Transcendental Youth

In 2012 John Darnielle shows us all that he's still got it, as he produces possibly his
best record since the golden era. best songs: Lakeside View Apartments Suite,
Night Light, Transcendental Youth
5The Mountain Goats
We Shall All Be Healed

Ahh, my first Mountain Goats album. I have fond memories of listening to this one
night, drunk and a little drugged out, and it finally sank in. I had a weird feeling
that I was listening to a special band, and it was then that I decided to start
discovering their music. This album flows so well from start to finish and works as
one long story. I can't believe an album that I love this much could be at number
5, but The Mountain Goats pumped out absolute gold from 2000 to 2005. 4.6/5 best
songs: Palmcorder Yanja, The Young Thousands, Your Belgian Things, Quito
4The Mountain Goats
All Hail West Texas

The last of the lo-fi masterpieces; after this album Darnielle would move to the
studio and use a full band approach. Like most of the music in this era of their
career, accessibility is not its strength. Something about this album kept me coming
back, and in time I wondered how I could have ever doubted it. 4.7/5 best songs:
The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton, Color In Your Cheeks, Fault Lines, The
Mess Inside
3The Mountain Goats
The Sunset Tree

The fan favourite: the almighty Sunset Tree. By 2005, The Mountain Goats were
riding a previous four records of incredible quality. Surely the magic had to stop, or
at least slow down at some point, but this was not that point. 4.8/5 best songs:
You or Your Memory, This Year, Up The Wolves, Hast Thou Considered the
Tetrapod, Love Love Love
2The Mountain Goats

In 2002, The Mountain Goats sound was forever changed as Darnielle ditched the
lo-fi gear and stepped into the studio with a full band. The result was yet another
masterpiece, and a sign of things to come. Darnielle's songwriting adapted brilliant
to the drastically different approach, which lead to The Mountain Goats attaining a
much more accessible, and yet no less authentic, sound. 4.8/5 best tracks: No
Children, No Children, No Children, No Children, Game Shows Touch Our Lives,
Oceanographer's Choice, Tallahassee, also No Children is good.
1The Mountain Goats
The Coroner's Gambit

Released in the magical year that was 2000, this slow burner became my favourite
over the past two years. This was the moment in Darnielle's career where his lo-fi
approach and songwriting combined perfectly to create an intimate, beautiful, and
personal piece of music. It may not be the shiniest, catchiest, or even most likable
album in The Mountain Goat's discography, but there is something undeniably
endearing about it that makes me return to it again and again. An underrated
masterpiece of the indie/folk sound. 5/5 best tracks (literally all of them, but...):
Elijah, Bluejays and Cardinals, There Will Be No Divorce, Family Happiness, Scotch
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