The Mountain Goats
With his fifteenth album, alt-country stalwart John Darnielle has created the ultimate break-up album. Now, being in a happy relationship myself, it just feels impossible for me to really "get" this album, and, to be honest, I don't ever want to. Don't get me wrong, though, this is an amazing album, with superb music, and lyrics full of despair and ephemeral imagery.
From the first sweet chord of "Wild Sage", to the last dying, mournful strains of "In Corolla", Get Lonely paints pictures of loss, solitude, and, well, loneliness.
The musical canvas is sparse and reflective of the lyrical moods, most songs are mapped out around simple acoustic guitar chords, with occasional pianos, drums and strings cutting through the fog. Around these rather naked arrangements, Darnielle weaves tales of despondency so evocative, they register as a shock, particularly on the deceptively chirpy "Woke Up New", where he tells of making coffee for one for the first time, and making too much of it. It's these simple, but extremely clever flourishes that make Get
Lonely a truly special album.
There's definitely a woodsy element running through the songs as well, with bleak landscape looming behind every cold morning we face on this album, the "dark hills" and "wet leaves" adding to the understated melancholy, and propelling the finer moments into Nick Drake territory, Darnielle even having developed a similarly idiosyncratic delivery.
This is one of the finest albums you'll hear this year, and such heartfelt music deserves all the recognition it can get, so if you know someone who's going through a bad break-up, wing this their way, they'll get it.