Saturday, September 19, 2015

Building nothing out of something - a Modest Mouse Top 100

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may remember that I attempted to rank the songs of Modest Mouse in August 2014. It turned out to be a sprawling 8-part series. Well, now that I am familiar with Strangers to Ourselves, I thought it was time to compile a new ranking.

Here's my original attempt if you are curious.

I would love to automatically know my rankings for music and movies, but doing it the hard way is a great opportunity to dig deeper into the things that I love. I bought my first vinyl 45 around 43 years ago. Although my tastes have evolved and my enthusiasm for music deepened after attending approximately 500 live shows, music was important to me as a child.

Over the course of my life, my favorites have changed from glam, to David Bowie, Pink Floyd, The Fall, Pixies, Throwing Muses and Sonic Youth. I discovered Modest Mouse later than most, first paying close attention about 10 years ago. For the last 15 months, it's hard for me to listen to anything else.

There are so many things to love about Modest Mouse. The music itself ranges from driving alternative rock, to funk, ballads, dance, and even rap. Isaac Brock's vocals can be delicate and heartfelt, or outright screaming rants. The sheer variety of styles and songs is incredible. Most bands tend to find a sound they like and stick to it, but you never know what to expect from Modest Mouse. The latest tour has seen the band play 69 different songs. Most bands hardly ever vary from their core setlists, maybe playing two or three different songs each show. Many of the lyrics are clever and insightful.

One of things I am curious to discover as I work my way through this ranking, is how it has changed from last August. Strangers to Ourselves gives me 15 new songs to discover, but I will do this exercise without referring to my previous rankings. I want to find out how my appreciation for the songs has evolved.

I'm sure that many of you are wondering how to tackle such a daunting task. My method is to list every song, cut the list down to 100, then rank each album or EP individually. Then I'll compare the weakest remaining song on each release to determine its ranking. I can't think of a more accurate way, although I am aware of the sheer futility of such an exercise.

The list will be updated as time allows, and I will comment on each song, provide the lyrics, along with a video if one is available.

This initial post is just about done. Here's my alphabetical list of the songs that made the Top 100. The next installment will begin to rank them, in reverse order. I hope that you will follow along and perhaps discover a song you may have overlooked or even never heard.

Thanks for reading so far.

Alphabetical Top 100

3rd Planet
A Different City
A Life of Arctic Sounds
A Manic Depressive Named Laughing Boy
All Night Diner
Alone Down There
Bankrupt on Selling
Be Brave
Beach Side Property
Birds Vs Worms
Black Cadillacs
Blame It on the Tetons
Bury Me with It
Convenient Parking
Cowboy Dan
Custom Concern
Dance Hall
Dark Center of the Universe
Doin' the Cockroach
Dukes Up
Edit the Sad Parts
Exit Does Not Exist
Fire It Up
Float On
Fly Trapped in a Jar
Gravity Rides Everything
Grey Ice Water
Guilty Cocker Spaniels
Head South
Heart Cooks Brain
I Came as a Rat
Interstate 8
King Rat
Lampshades On Fire
Life Like Weeds
Little Motel
Lounge (Closing Time)
March into the Sea
Missed the Boat
Never Ending Math Equation
Night on the Sun
Novacain Stain
Ocean Breathes Salty
Of Course We Know
One Chance
Other People's Lives
Out of Gas
Paper Thin Walls
Parting of the Sensory
People as Places as People
Perfect Disguise
Polar Opposites
Pups To Dust
Satellite Skin
Satin in a Coffin
She Ionizes & Atomizes
Shit In Your Cut
Shit Luck
Space Travel Is Boring
Spitting Venom
Steam Engenius
Strangers to Ourselves
Styrofoam Boots/It's All Nice on Ice Alright
Sugar Boats
Sunspots in the House of the Late Scapegoat
Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset
Teeth Like God's Shoeshine
The Best Room
The Cold Part
The Good Times Are Killing Me
The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box
The Stars Are Projectors
The Tortoise and the Tourist
The View
The Waydown
The Whale Song
The World at Large
Tiny Cities Made of Ashes
Trailer Trash
Truckers Atlas
We've Got Everything
What People Are Made Of
Whenever You Breathe Out, I Breathe in (Positive Negative)
Whenever You See Fit
White Lies, Yellow Teeth
Wicked Campaign

Building nothing out of something (overview)
Building nothing out of something - songs 85 to 81
Building nothing out of something - songs 80 to 76
Building nothing out of something - songs 75 to 71
Building nothing out of something - songs 70 to 66
Building nothing out of something - songs 65 to 61
Building nothing out of something - songs 60 to 56
Building nothing out of something - songs 55 to 51
Building nothing out of something - songs 50 to 46
Building nothing out of something - songs 45 to 41
Building nothing out of something - songs 40 to 36
Building nothing out of something - songs 35 to 31
Building nothing out of something - songs 30 to 26
Building nothing out of something - songs 25 to 21
Building nothing out of something - songs 20 to 16
Building nothing out of something - songs 15 to 11
Building nothing out of something - songs 10 to 6
Building nothing out of something - the Top 5

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