This satirical post by The Hard Times, "John Darnielle Reveals Syllabus For Upcoming Album," is probably the funniest thing I've ever read about The Mountain Goats—because it rings so true. If you know anything about lead singer Darnielle, who studied English and Classics at Pitzer College, you know that he loves crafting lyrics that are chock-full of both obscure and not-so-obscure references to literature and history and philosophy.
Here's an excerpt from The Hard Times piece:
John Darnielle, lead singer of The Mountain Goats, revealed the academic syllabus for the band's new album "Jenny From Thebes," leaving many fans feeling nervous about the upcoming release.
"If you do the readings, you have nothing to worry about," Darnielle said while grading papers in the greenroom. "I don't think I'm asking too much here. It's just a few chapters on the archaic and classical periods of Thebes. Then we'll get into Zeus, Dionysius, Apollo, and all those guys. Also, it's important to have a topographical understanding of West Texas, or the B-side isn't gonna make much sense. Textbooks are available at the merch stand. I'm warning everyone now: if I see any peeking at Genius lyrics during the show, it's an automatic zero."
I mean, it's so perfectly hilarious, and it hit so close to home, I just had to laugh.
I've been obsessed with the Goats' new album, Jenny From Thebes, since it was released a little over a week ago—it gets better and better with every listen. In college I, like John, also studied English and Classics, so I delight in some of the Google rabbit holes that Mountain Goats' albums sometimes send me down. So yes, I confess, while listening, I've been googling references that I don't understand, and catching up on the plot of Aeschylus' play Seven Against Thebes, among other things. If John Darnielle ever DID release a syllabus, I'd be thrilled! A girl can dream!