the mountain goats & taylor swift: a conceptual mixtape



1. you were cool/mean

2. no children/ we are never ever getting back together

3. you or your memory/ all too well

4. international small arms traffic blues/ dear john

5. balance/ sad beautiful tragic

6. old college try/love story

7. this year/fifteen

people were telling me about this on Twitter so I made a mix of it minus You Were Cool because I don’t have any recordings of that* and it’s fun. both artists would be well served by more shredding guitar solos but I am sure they are both working on it

I am attaching a trigger warning to the song “Mean” because it made me cry

ok well have a great Saturday

*I know I could get one by ripping YouTube audio or from but for me that song is for playing in rooms with people in them who are listening while I’m singing in the present moment, I don’t rule out ever recording it but that is where I am at w/it in my life since I wrote it & at present and in all cases I can’t imagine listening to it, for me it is only to be sung

My suspicion is that it’s different for everybody. You can’t speak monolithically about why people do that. I think this is one major problem in the treatment of younger people is that there’s this assumption that there’s a model on which you can treat everybody. …

For me, [cutting] hurt bad and that felt good, in part because it’s about controlling pain. It’s about remaining in control. I get to do this. I say where my limits are. …

My friends knew. They didn’t like it, but I think that’s part of the appeal if you’re 16 and your friends don’t like it and you say, “Yes, but it’s my body and I’ll do what I like with it.” And I think that’s what it’s about — or at least what it was for me — is stating that my body belongs to me and I will do what I like with it, whether anyone likes it or not.

John Darnielle (NPR) ←

stealingsailboats asked: That darn eel!


I pitched it to Disney and they were like “we already did that one only with a cat” so I crawled up on the conference room table and started wriggling all around saying “but the eel, man, think of the eel”

later in the same dream I invented a new kind of pizza that you can only eat while driving

royorbitron asked: how do you pronounce your last name? signed, huge fan


It rhymes with “barn feel,” accent on the second syllable, as in the sentence, “I love John Darnielle’s hair, even when it doesn’t have the barn look it’s got that barn feel

MD: People often speak of certain common technical mistakes in the work of young fiction writers — POV that doesn’t gel, overuse of adverbs in dialog tags, that sort of thing. Are there specific technical problems you see repeatedly in the work of beginning songwriters?

JD: Yeah there’s one, a pet one, which I’ll get to shortly, but the main thing is less technical than - well, for lack of a better term, “moral.” Not moral problems in the sense so much of “what you are doing is morally indefensible,” but more of a “the terms of the moral universe in which you are setting your song are lame, and since you’re the one setting those terms, this is a problem you should fix.” What the hell am I even talking about — this: young men (this problem really doesn’t seem to exist for young women who write songs) often like to present a narrator whose self-destructive “urges” (they usually aren’t real “urges” so much as cosmetic choices about how to present himself) are clearly placing him on a collision course with doom. The narrator of these songs often seems to hope that the important people in his life will be both very impressed by the special nature of his pain, and that some people who have spurned him will be so horrified by the things his pain has made him do that they will either a) give him what he wants from them or b) speak with awe about him.

Really can’t stand that kinda stuff. There is one thing special about your pain: it’s yours. That ought to be enough, in my opinion; you can describe it from there, and take control of it, detail it lovingly, etc. But when a narrator seems to think that he is somehow beatified by his own particular collection of neuroses, well, this bugs me. I was as guilty of this early on as anybody, and one of my most popular songs is pretty much One Of These Types, and it’s not that all songs like this are bad. In fact many of them are quite good. But it’s a tendency that should be outgrown quickly. Often there are two main characters in a song like this, and almost always, the song would be a much better one of the two weren’t acting like a child.

Mark Doten interviews John Darnielle, The Weaklings (via roadburdened) ←

Some people would have taken this opportunity to hang out with friends, but…like…have you ever seen a possum on a summer night? How he just comes shuffling out of nowhere all by himself, all beady-eyed and content and solitary, heading through the dark to who knows where? I am essentially a possum.
John Darnielle, All Hell West Texas ←


I feel obligated to share this photo of toddler John Darnielle literally eating jam out of the jar. I had no idea this photo existed or that this had happened until about one minute ago.


I feel obligated to share this photo of toddler John Darnielle literally eating jam out of the jar. I had no idea this photo existed or that this had happened until about one minute ago.

And understand this, too: even if you feel like you’re barely scraping by, your survival is meaningful to others. To me, for example.
John Darnielle (x) ←

DARNIELLE: And I went back to my room and just sat there listening to music and my mom came down the hall to see what time she should make dinner and I had been sitting there for a half hour contemplating what I was gonna do to express that I didn’t deserve this, and this was at the extent of the rage, so I punched my window. I put my fist through the window. It felt like a million bucks. I never felt so good in my whole life. It was like, holy shit. And the house melted down. Right there was just this immediate, my stepfather screamed he was gonna beat everyone’s ass even worse and my mother and my sister’s crying and this whole terrible scene… bleeding down my arm and I just felt like a million bucks. It was like, you know what, it felt so good, to show them what it felt like inside. There was no way of getting it through their heads.

MARON: It’s also a way of trumping the pain they inflicted.

DARNIELLE: Exactly, that’s right.

MARON: You win in some weird way.

DARNIELLE: Yeah that’s right, that was my victory.

WTF With Marc Maron with John Darnielle, Episode 366 ←

When Amy Winehouse died, I wrote the first ‘Spent Gladiator’. That’s what people don’t say when drug addicts die—that they are mentally ill, that it is a disease. I felt really sad and I thought about all the other Amy Winehouses in the world who aren’t famous, whose deaths go uncelebrated. Then I was sort of off to the races thinking—writing about people who were suffering with various psychic ills
John Darnielle on “Amy aka Spent Gladiator 1” (via mrasrotinhell) ←

One thing pop music is good for is remembering that somewhere inside us is the potential for unvanquishable joy.
John Darnielle ←