“Good News For People Who Love Bad News" is a strange album for Modest Mouse. It’s very much like the older material of the band, but at the same time it’s not at all. It’s very much like Blink 182’s last album; it was something different, but not entirely. The older fans (again, like Blink) didn’t take too well to this latest effort by the band going as far as to call them sellouts. It could really be seen two way though. Yes, Modest Mouse have somewhat abandoned their indie/rock styling that made them an underground favorite, but because of that their music is easier to get into now; before it could be tough to get used to their music at times.
One of the key elements to “Good News For People Who Love Bad News" is that most of the songs are different than each other, but everything still flows real well. “Float On"
gives off a panicked feeling, but with a steady beat and grooving bass it settles into one spot. Brocks voice gives off a catchy vibe and remains incessant, which is reason for a quick paced, or panicky feeling. The lyrics portray Brock at maybe his most poignant. “Alright already, we’ll all float on. All right, don’t worry even if things end up a bit too heavy. We’ll all float on."
Plainly it basically is saying that when bad things happen one should look to the future and move on. It doesn’t particularly stand out because it doesn’t do much, but act as a catchy song, which makes it plain to see why it is a single. The ballad of the record could easily go to the other single, “Ocean Breathes Salty"
. It’s catchy, moving, and lulls about in a way that just eases up the tension from “Float On"
. However, it is also very depressing. “Will you tell me what you saw and I’ll tell you what you missed, when the ocean met the sky. You missed when time and life shook hands and said goodbye. When the Earth folded in on itself and said, “Good luck, for your sake I hope heaven and hell are really there, but I wouldn’t waste my breath".
The lyrics for this could be viewed at from multiple ways. For one it could be Brock questioning whether, or not there is an afterlife, but it could also be a story of someone committing suicide, or it could be both; it’s hard to say.
is an incredibly agitated and frantic song. Brock repeatedly yells, “I’m gonna dance all Dance Hall every day"
, in the beginning and even more so throughout. The bass remains incessantly groovy the entire time, which makes the song flow nicely. “Bury Me With It"
is easily one of the best songs. The bass holds the song together and Brocks catchy yelling sticks out particularly. The lyrics aren’t easy to interpret, but are still fun to listen to despite times on nonsensicalness. “We were shootin’ at a mound of dirt. Well nothing was broken, nothing was hurt, but I probably should have been at work. But if my free time is gone would you promise me this? That you will please bury me with it"?!
The lyrics are sort of like the styling of “Float On"
where Brock speaks of different events, but revolves around one phrase; in this case it is, “Please bury me with it"
“The World At Large"
and “Blame It On The Tetons"
are most likely the mellowest songs for the record. “The World At Large"
is the first song on the album after a nine-second-horn intro. At times the album seems separated by certain feelings and it would appear that the first half (or maybe even third) of the album is about vulnerability, questioning, and just letting go of things. While “Float On"
may have been about letting things pass by and “Ocean Breathe Salty"
was about vulnerability, it would seem that “The World At Large"
represents searching for the answer to something, or looking for a “comfort zone". Brock really delivers that home with the lyrics, “If the world’s at large why should I remain? Walked away to another plan. Gonna find another place, maybe one I can stand. I move on to another day, to a whole new town with a whole new way. Went to the porch to have a though. Got to the door and again, I couldn’t stop. You don’t know where you are and you don’t know when, but you still got your words and you got your friends. Walk along to another day Work a little harder, work another way." “Blame It On The Tetons"
is a bit different however. It’s extremely mellow like “The World At Large"
, but the lyrics seem incredibly nonsensical. “Blame it on the web, but the spider’s your problem now. Language is for liquid that we’re all dissolved in. Great for solving problems after it creates a problem. Blame it on the Tetons. God, I need a scapegoat now."
“Satin In A Coffin"
somewhat scares me. It’s extremely angry, but at the same time very melodramatic. It starts out pre-emptive with some quick single-notes from a banjo before the standup bass and drums come in with Brock talking in an accusing tone that causes the anger and melodrama. “You were lying on the carpet like you’re satin in a coffin. You said, “Do you believe what you’re saying"? Yeah, right now, but not that often. Are you dead, or are you sleepin’? Are you dead, or are you sleepin’? Are you dead, or are you sleepin’? God, I sure hope you are dead!"
The music then becomes deceptively softer with some cool pump organ action taking place, but does not take too long before the pace quickens up and becomes angry again, it really picks up when Brock says, “And now the blows been softened, since we are our own damn coffins!"
The first parts of the song basically take the place of the last parts of the song before ending and when it’s over there is a lot of tension and excitement built up from it, making it a exceptionally memorable song.
While “Good News For People Who Love Bad News" is heavily criticized because it was somewhat of a change for Modest Mouse it still is a great record. Many songs are different from each other, but still remain within the indie/rock sound, remain consistent, and just flow well from one to another despite the change of pace. With sixteen tracks however it seems a little ridiculous that the album doesn’t succeed in reaching even the fifty-minute mark. The first half of the album is very energetic and at times mellow and it is the opposite for the second half, especially the last three of four songs. When the album ends, it seems proper and fitting, but at the same time a little more is being wished for. There really isn’t too much filler, or anything to complain about, but while this particular album is easier to get into compared to Modest Mouse’s other works, some may still not connect to it all.