The Mountain Goats
Get Lonely


5.0
classic

Review

by no EMERITUS
November 26th, 2014 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


For the most part, Get Lonely is one song – one long folk song about spending a month of a weekend indoors on your own, surveying each inch of your house until you have literally done everything except engage with your gutted brain. If you’re wondering why this record frustrates everyone you’ve talked to, it’s because this is the record where John Darnielle is staring, rather than thinking. This is the Mountain Goats record where every chord is much of a muchness, because John Darnielle spends most of it looking under chairs, which we often do for TV remotes and spare change, but rarely the way this man does – for people. “Is anyone out there?”, he shouts to the padding and the cushions. They are apologetic.

There’s only one moment on the record when, quite frighteningly, our residential agoraphobiac gets up from his living room, rises and becomes urgent – and even then, the moment is being imagined, not experienced. The opening lyric to “If You See Light”, a jitterbug of a song that keeps this sleepy record awake, is “When the villagers come”. It’s not “they have come”. If you’ve ever had melodrama accidentally transpire in your head while you’re not paying attention to the workings of your mind, then “If You See Light” is for you, a ferocious, half stabilised piece of rock music about a moment you wish were happening – just because it’s any moment other than the long one you’re living through.

My favourite of these songs is “Woke Up New”, which literalises what I’ve said about the record: as far as Darnielle’s stories go, it’s one of the most minimal, a bottle show about walking around your house when there’s no one sitting at the kitchen table. Darnielle’s doing laps around the first floor of his house, for the audience: “and an astronaut could have seen the hunger in eyes from space”. Do you ever try to stop yourself from having a thought half way through having it? You probably have an audience too.

Maybe people like Get Lonely less because it’s a collection of dead end songs about not having stories to tell. “What do I do without you?” isn’t much of a story – in the space of this record, it’s a rhetorical question, but Darnielle is also asking it to you. It’s not character to character – it’s singer to listener. That’s the worst – that’s the reason I don’t stand in the front row at shows. What if the band make fun of me?

I think this is the best Mountain Goats album because it has the biggest return on similes: every half a minute Darnielle will connect one of his movements to a person, animal or object that he is “like”. Darnielle is the best at comparing bad situations to wishlists. My favourites are the ones that imply escapism, a place outside of these four walls where hands are held: “I leave the house as soon as it gets light outside / like a prisoner breaking out of jail”. That one happens in the space between futility and joy, which is Get Lonely in a nutshell. Of course, like all Darnielle lyics, I don’t quite believe it’s based on fact – the idea that he’d leave the house at all during Get Lonely’s runtime feels like a poetic lie. He couldn’t possibly leave the house that piano lives in.

It’s not all that nice to listen to. It’s called Get Lonely. It’s the winner of Album With The Least Vocal Harmonies Ever. It exists accidentally on purpose, like a superhero revealing his secret identity to his crush. And you’ve heard it all before – just not this quiet.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
November 25th 2014


6107 Comments


surprised this wasn't reviewed already. ofc this is a great review, a couple spacing issues but you'll catch those. never been a fan of
MG so I probably won't bother.

YakNips
November 25th 2014


18926 Comments


so basically i need this

Digging: ostraca - last

mynameischan
Emeritus
November 25th 2014


17966 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

and i sang oh

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
November 25th 2014


54961 Comments


haven't heard dis one

Digging: Captain, We're Sinking - The King Of No Man

mynameischan
Emeritus
November 25th 2014


17966 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

people that hate it are stupid



like adam thomas

ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2014


4408 Comments


ily robin

Gonna check this out soon.

Athom
Emeritus
November 25th 2014


17241 Comments


*arms crossed*

dimsim3478
November 25th 2014


7506 Comments


wut why have people not heard this

Digging: Dotsuitarunen - COLOR LIFE

YakNips
November 26th 2014


18926 Comments


NICE DIG WILLIAM

Spare
November 26th 2014


5567 Comments


this didnt have a review ok

dimsim3478
November 26th 2014


7506 Comments


NICE DIG WILLIAM

now changed for new owen

also "if you see light" is best ever

robin
Emeritus
November 26th 2014


4407 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

my record of this came in the mail today ^________^

TheSonomaDude
November 26th 2014


4999 Comments


I met one of the dudes in this band. He's related to my friend Jimmy Bent, who is in the band Wilding Estates. Indie runs in the family I guess.

leviegalapon
November 26th 2014


78 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There used to be a review of this before, but it disappeared for some reason.



However, this is a real good review and got my to listen to the record again.

MyCarandMyGuitar
March 6th 2016


2054 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Might be my favorite Mountain Goats release

Pheromone
May 25th 2016


5193 Comments


fantastic review


Astral Abortis
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2017


2337 Comments


Best Mountain Goats album, but it took a long time to click with me for some reason

Sniff
March 30th 2017


3644 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

t/t and woke up new are top tier Mountain Goats songs

Astral Abortis
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2017


2337 Comments


This is the only MG album I adore from start to finish. Most of their albums are great lyrically but a few songs are duds musically for me, but not this'n

MyCarandMyGuitar
March 30th 2017


2054 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

When I saw MG live he said "I don't like to brag... but The Sunset Tree was by far our most commercially successful album. How did we follow up our most successful album? With Get Lonely, where we took away the drums."



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