The Mountain Goats’ Goths is about growing up weird

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The Mountain Goats’ Goths is streaming on NPR’s First Listen ahead of its May 19 release date. It’s all about growing up weird.

This week on NPR‘s First Listen, you can stream The Mountain Goats’ new record in its entiretyGoths is set to drop Friday, May 19. If you haven’t listened to it yet, you absolutely should.

Since John Darnielle started The Mountain Goats as a solo project over 20 years ago, he’s written music that is super relatable. As his solo project has slowly become a full band, that hasn’t changed. Goths is The Mountain Goats’ 16th studio album. It’s also one of their best.

Goths is primarily about the experience of growing up weird. The storytelling qualities of Darnielle’s lyrics are as strong as ever. He sometimes strays into the darkness (“Rain in Soho”) and other times borders on downright joyful (“We Do It Different On the West Coast”).

This record is funky. It’s less guitar-driven than previous records, though it still rocks. Bassist Peter Hughes stands out in particular. The addition of multi-instrumentalist Matt Douglas also adds a new quality to the music that’s noticeable and incredible. With drummer Jon Wurster adding a solid backbone to every track, this record feels and sounds super smooth.

Arguably the best thing about Goths, though, is the lyrics. Darnielle acknowledges that when you’re a weirdo, you’re always a weirdo. Aging doesn’t (usually) change how you feel about how you fit in.

In “The Grey King and the Silver Flame Attunement”, Darnielle calls out the struggle of every adult goth: I’m hardcore / but I’m not that hardcore. (So say we all.)

Thus far, reactions to the album have been … well, what you’d expect.

Every year, thousands of fans tweet lyrics to “This Year” on New Year’s Eve as a battle cry for the upcoming months. I suspect Goths lyrics will make their way onto timelines soon. Heck, I want to make I’m hardcore / but I’m not that hardcore my bio pretty much everywhere.

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In light of everything happening in the world today, this record soars. Once again, The Mountain Goats have proven that even after two decades of making music, it’s still possible to be fresh without completely changing course.

You can stream Goths on NPR here until Friday. You can also pre-order the album.