Thursday, July 9, 2009

Break out the sad tissues: "No Children" by The Mountain Goats

I was going to do a post about how I always seem to be mildly depressed when I come back from vacation. I spent a little more than a week in Vermont, generally indoors out of the rain and reading, working on The Downfall Dictionary, and watching TV, though there were a few trips elsewhere as well. But all things considered, I've come back from trips feeling much sadder; I'd probably just reiterate what I said in the St. Paul entry about how it's sad to unpack after a long trip. I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things. Plus there's an arts festival and bachelor's party this weekend, so one more day of work and I'm set.

But I'm still a little blue, so I thought I'd do another sad post of sorts, this time focusing on the song "No Children" by The Mountain Goats.

All told, it's almost funny. The singer basically seems to be telling everyone and everything to jog on, and the inflection of his voice makes it seem to be joking for much of the song. But the lyrics are pretty depressing, and the way the music is played seems to make it pretty clear that it's serious. What's it about? Well, that's for the people on to figure out. An unhappy relationship would seem to be the simplest explanation, and probably the right one.

I first heard this song on this episode of the Adult Swim show Moral Orel. The show, which followed a wholesome Christian boy named Orel and his well-meaning but disastrous attempts to interpret and implement the lessons he learns in church, was generally a hilarious take on Davey and Goliath which nonetheless had a pretty dark undertone related to his parents' unhappy marriage and father's alcoholism. These themes came to a head in an episode where Orel is forced to see his father for who he really is instead of a flawless role model. The song was used in one of the first episodes following that point, and generally highlighted the misery of the marriage. Plus the band's songs were used in a few other episodes, so I guess they specialize in folksy depression.

Well, that's enough of that. I'm going to go watch some of The Big Bang Theory and return to a state of levity.

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