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John Darnielle's Lyrics Slay Me

·307 words·2 mins
Quotes Music Podcasts
Daniel Andrlik
Daniel Andrlik
Daniel Andrlik lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia. By day he manages product teams. The rest of the time he is a podcast host and producer, writer of speculative fiction, a rabid reader, and a programmer.

When you punish a person for dreaming his dream,
don’t expect him to thank or forgive you.

The Mountain Goats, “Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton"

I’ve been listening to the podcast I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats, which is a wonderful show about music, being an artist, and what it means to be a fan. Each episode, John Darnielle and Joseph Fink, the creator of Welcome to Nightvale, discuss one Mountain Goats song, and then invite another musician on to perform a cover of it. You’d think it would be awkward and strange, but their mutual sincerity and artistic passion transforms the concept into a revelatory one.

As you would expect, it’s sent me down a rabbit hole of revisiting the band’s albums. As a lyricist, I believe that John Darnielle is unmatched, and his songs always find new ways to make me smile with their cleverness even as they break my heart.

And I dreamt of a factory
Where they manufactured what I needed
Using shiny new machines
And the headstones climbed up the hills

The Mountain Goats, “Palmcorder Yajna"

One thing that I love about Darnielle is that he’s also an amazing storyteller, both in his novels, and in his songwriting. Their latest album, Goths, is a bittersweet love letter to goth culture. It brought back memories of my youth, and the stories weaving through each song wrapped around me like a warm blanket.

There’s a club where you’d like to go
You could meet someone who’s lost like you
Revel in the darkness like a pair of open graves
Fumble through the fog for a season or two

The Mountain Goats, “Rain in Soho"

Seriously, the podcast is worth your time, and even if you’ve never listened to the Mountain Goats, now is a great time to start.


Merlin Mann on a better media diet
·54 words·1 min
Quotes Social Media Politics
Politics, celebrity gossip, business headlines, tech punditry, odd news, and user-generated content. These are the chew toys that have made me sad and tired and cynical. — Merlin Mann, Better
N.K. Jemisin on the secret of oppression
·107 words·1 min
Quotes Politics
Tell them they can be great someday, like us. Tell them they belong among us, no matter how we treat them. Tell them they must earn the respect which everyone else receives by default.
Manguso on anxiety
·35 words·1 min
Quotes Anxiety Mental Health
Worry is impatience for the next horror. — Sarah Manguso, 300 Arguments Manguso’s 300 Arguments is a wonderful and quick read. This passage keeps floating to the top of my mind, and refuses to leave.