A few days ago, after five years of silence, Modest Mouse announced a new album available for pre-order called Strangers to Ourselves.
This follow-up to 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank has been in the works for a long time now. Other Modest fans will know of the various rumors and announcements that have sporadically popped up since the release of their last EP, No One’s First, and You’re Next, back in 2009.
Various live tracks from concerts have been recorded over the years, and it was even rumored that Big Boi and Krist Novoselic both offered some services on the album. However, nothing concrete was ever really announced until this month when Modest Mouse mailed out their newest single, “Lampshades on Fire”, to a few members of a fan club message board. After the fans posted about their new packages, Modest Mouse suddenly became active on social media. Cryptic images were posted to their Instagram profile, and on Tuesday, “Lampshades on Fire” became available to purchase as a single track, along with pre-order options for the complete album, due to be released March 3, 2015.
I had heard live versions of “Lampshades on Fire” in the past, but it was a completely new experience listening to a cleaned-up produced version. I’ll be honest: the song is just all right, it didn’t blow me away or anything. My expectations are probably too high. The song has a catchy rhythm to it (ba-bup bup bup ba-da-da da-dup dup dup da-da-da) and some mildly clever lyrics, although again, it left me underwhelmed. That didn’t stop me from listening to it on repeat for several hours, though. I think the only Modest Mouse song I actually dislike is “Dance Hall”.
The announcement of Strangers to Ourselves was huge news for me, as I am the kind of deranged fan who has basically Googled for album news every day of my life for the past two years, always hoping for an update and always ending up disappointed. It got to the point that I was convinced the new album would never arrive. So yeah, I am pretty fucking stoked right now about this. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy. I chose the $60 CD/Hoodie combination, because I need a new jacket anyway, and that Modest Mouse hoodie is all kinds of rad. The album cover is decent, too. The image is a satellite aerial shot of Venture Out RV Resort in Mesa, Arizona.
Kind of reminds me a bit of Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs.
Music is a very important aspect of my life, which makes me sound like a pretentious asshole, I know, but hear me out. I am not saying this is untrue for anybody else on the planet. I am merely stating that I can’t live in silence. I need music playing almost constantly. And Modest Mouse? Fuck, they’ve been my go-to band since my friend ‘Anna DeVine introduced me to their song, “Satellite Skin”. I’ve yet to discover a lyricist more talented than Isaac Brock. Plus, I’ve learned that Modest Mouse is damn near perfect music to listen to while writing. Especially their The Moon & Antarctica album, which is pure euphoria.
Of course, my true obsession with the band didn’t really begin until 2011. I had been an idiot and OD’d, and as my brother rushed me to the hospital, “Float On” was playing in my headphones, which were still sticking into my ears. Fading in and out of consciousness, the song first served as background noise and then evolved into the main character of one of the most surreal fucking experiences of my life. I still get chills listening to that song, yet I keep coming back to it.
Strangers to Ourselves will be the first time Modest Mouse has released an album since I started listening to them. I couldn’t be more pumped for it. Oh, and also, it can’t be a coincidence that Modest Mouse’s first feature length album in eight years and my upcoming novel, How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers, both have the word “strangers” in the titles, plus they’re both being released around the same time. Nope. ‘Tis fate, darlings, ’tis fate.