Analog Adventures: Good News For People Who Love Bad News

Modest Mouse

Good News For People Who Love Bad News

(Original press 2004, 2011 reissue)

About the Artist

Modest Mouse formed in 1992 and are from Issaquah Washington. Isaac Brock founded the band with two of his friends and quickly began writing and releasing music. The band has a unique sound that is like the Talking Heads playing in the 90s grunge scene. Brock has a unique voice that has become one of the trademarks of Modest Mouse. Many of the band’s music focuses on topics such as depression, and the music will often times match this tone.

The Record Itself

Good News For People Who Love Bad News is Modest Mouse’s fourth album, and the album that catapulted them into the mainstream. Float On is still on several ad campaigns and can still be heard on contemporary radio stations. The success of the lead single from the album led to the band appearing on Saturday Night Live and growing their audience even further. Ocean Breathes Salty also received considerable airplay on the radio, and the accompanying video became a favorite on MTV2 and Fuse.

“We’ve named our children after towns we’ve never been to” - Modest Mouse, Black Cadillacs

The rest of the album has a focused DIY sound to it. The instrumentation is unique for a rock group, employing ukuleles, banjos, and brass bands throughout the album. Every time you hear these instruments, they feel as if they were meant to be in the track. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band performs the Horn Intro and the jazzy Devil’s Workday alongside Isaac Brock on banjo. The compositions vary in density, from the full band and accompanying brass of The Good Times are Killing Me to the stripped down and reflective Blame it on the Tetons. The songwriting decisions on each track all make sense and changing a single instrument or vocal choice would negatively affect each song.

The high contrast rear cover

The record saw a repress in 2011. A dual disc affair weighing in at 180 grams per record, this pressing is of the highest quality. Every detail is clear as day and the record has a satisfying weight to it. The album art is simple yet effective in invoking a sense of peace. The plain white darts bleed pink down the avocado green wall, with the title of the album simply adorning the lonely left corner. A hummingbird feeds off of the pink ooze, symbolizing the beauty that pain can bring. This pain feeds and sustains what is good and pure. This is appropriate since it deals with finding peace despite life’s challenges, and something about the art conveys this message.

Good News For People Who Love Bad News is widely available in most retailers and record shops, and a good used copy can be found on online marketplaces such as Discogs. I would absolutely suggest this record to anybody looking for an album packed with unique arrangements, relatable lyrics, and clever songwriting. Despite the pessimistic title of the record, there is hope and beauty on this album.

Outstanding Tracks

  • Float On
  • Black Cadillacs
  • The Good Times are Killing Me

 

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Jose Diaz

Collector of analog media.

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