Modest Mouse Album Review: No One’s Good News for a Long Drive and You’re Next
The new Modest Mouse album is OK.
“No One’s First and You’re Next” is eight tracks long and was released on August 4, and it’s just OK.
How long has it been since MM’s last release? Two years? This is their newest recording and it’s the best they can do? It may sound harsh, but I’m tired of making excuses for bands, especially a band like MM that I hold in such high regard.
I understand that after a group achieves success their sound is likely to change. Why wouldn’t a band want to spend some of their earnings on more album production and a better, cleaner sound? And while there is a clear difference between the production on 1996’s “This is a Long Drive With Nothing to Think About” and production on “…You’re Next,” that’s not my issue with the band.
You know the movie Multiplicity? Where Michael Keaton is cloned so many times that by the time the 8th or so version is created he is slightly retarded? That’s what this album feels like– Modest Mouse eight times removed. The lyrics sound recycled. Brock’s metaphors are more like madlibs: We were (verb) like two (adjective) (plural noun). I feel like the song titles for this album were chosen by picking those refrigerator magnet phrases out of a hat, and the magnets’ theme was like, water and annoying animals. The songs’ melodies are old, even with the addition of Smith’s guitarist Johnny Marr to the group. Listen to 2001’s “Here it Comes.” Now speed it up. Sounds a lot like the new song “Guilty Cocker Spaniels,” doesn’t it? Hey, “The Devil’s Workday” just came on! Oh wait, that’s just the horn intro to “King Rat.” No, no, no, not “I Came as a Rat,” silly, that’s a totally different album!
I haven’t even mentioned the fact that every other MM album is at least an hour long, and this one is barely over a half an hour with only eight songs.
I’m not saying the band set out to create a half-assed product. But that’s what they did. Some reviews have called Brock’s lyrics’ “more positive” on this album. I hope that’s true, because maybe that means Modest Mouse will stay together even longer. But if the Prozac is dulling Brock’s sharp songwriting abilities, what’s the point?
*Apparently this album is actually a collection of B-sides and unreleased songs from Modest Mouse’s last two releases, “Good News…” and “We Were Dead…,” rendering everything I just said pointless. Actually, it’s not pointless, because it doesn’t change the musical and lyrical quality of the “refurbished” tracks. Step it up, Moddy.