An indie folk lovers dream
During the uncharted and mysterious time of COVID-19, many musical artists have released new music made during quarantine this past year. Indie folk band, The Mountain Goats, did exactly that with their latest album, Getting Into Knives, and it is filled with lyrics that reflect the creativity that quarantine could bring.
The North Carolina based band have been around since the early 90’s, formed by frontliner John Darnielle. The Mountain Goats have released multiple albums since their formation, making Getting Into Knives their 19th studio album. The 13 song album was recorded in one short week during March, the peak of the COVID-19 quarantine. Quarantine led to moments of complete and utter loneliness for some, and for others it led to a spark of creativity. Getting Into Knives is definitely a product of its time. It mirrors all of the moments during quarantine spent sitting alone, thinking too deeply about certain things or creating entire fictional worlds in order to pass the time.
The album starts off with the fast paced and catchy song, “Corsican Mastiff Stride.” It’s a lovely acoustic jam with a happy beat and adventurous lyrics. This song leads into the even peppier song “Get Famous,” a single off of the album. It still maintains that happy beat, but this time with sounds of saxophone and other horn instruments carved into the track. It’s certainly a different sound when compared to the rest of the album, but contains rather dark lyrics. While the prospect of wanting someone to get famous sounds appealing, the song describes the tragic life of a celebrity with lyrics like “they act like they know you but they’re all sound asleep, waiting for something to wake up to” in reference to the “obedient sheep” or the fans.
The second single off of the album, “As Many Candles As Possible” has a rock beat with descriptive lyrics. The Mountain Goats have a way of storytelling as much as possible with their lyrics, and while the story “As Many Candles As Possible” tells doesn’t make too much sense at first, it’s still wonderful to listen to. The story the song tells is anything the listener wants it to be.
The track, “Rat Queen” appears towards the middle of the album, and it sounds like a fever dream. While the lyrics border on nonsensical, the imagery of a rat queen sitting on her throne is adorable. It plays out like a twisted children’s book or fairytale with its whimsical rock sound and lyrics. “The Great Gold Sheep” is another example of a song with great imagery and fable-like lyrics, such as “wake up and worship the great gold sheep.” It sounds more mysterious and acoustic than “Rat Queen,” with strings and bells highlighting the track.
The album ends with the title track, “Getting Into Knives.” It’s a soft ending to a relatively tame album, filled with insightful lyrics that discuss the prospect of getting older as well as the shifting of times. The chorus, “I’m adjusting my focus, I’m getting into knives,” could either be some really deep lyric whose meaning can’t quite be placed or a reflection of the quarantine times. Those times when people began getting into something, anything, to distract from the state of the world—perhaps even knives.
Getting Into Knives is an indie folk fairytale sparked by the recent health-related events of the year. Whether listeners were getting into a new Netflix show or hobby (one that may or may not include knives) during their quarantine, Getting Into Knives is definitely worth a listen.