Tallahassee (album)

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Tallahassee
Studio album by the Mountain Goats
Released November 5, 2002
Genre Folk rock
Length 44:35
Label 4AD
Producer Tony Doogan
the Mountain Goats chronology
All Hail West Texas
(2002)
Tallahassee
(2002)
We Shall All Be Healed
(2004)

Tallahassee is an album by the Mountain Goats. It was the band's second new album to be released in 2002, and it marked quite a few changes. First of all, after releasing records (and cassettes) on small record labels such as Shrimper, Ajax, and Emperor Jones, Tallahassee was the first Mountain Goats album to be released on a widely known independent label, the British alternative rock label 4AD. It was also the first Mountain Goats album to have an official single released, for the song "See America Right."

Most importantly, however, is that this is the first record on which the Mountain Goats is more or less a full "band," with fuller instrumentation and a percussion section. Up to this point, most recordings under the Mountain Goats name have either been solo recordings by leader John Darnielle or higher-quality recordings featuring Rachel Ware on bass, and other supporting instrumentalists. On Tallahassee, Darnielle is joined by two past collaborators, multi-instrumentalists Peter Hughes and Franklin Bruno. It was co-produced, recorded, and mixed by producer Tony Doogan at Tarbox Studios in Cassadaga, New York, assisted by Michael Ivins of The Flaming Lips. The album was recorded in six days.[1]

Story[edit]

Tallahassee is completely devoted to two of Darnielle's recurring characters, a married couple constantly on the edge of divorce. They are known to fans as "the Alpha Couple," as many of the previous songs about them have titles beginning with the word "Alpha" (e.g. "Alpha Incipiens," "Alpha Desperation March"). The final song on the album is titled "Alpha Rats Nest" as a nod of sorts to the other songs.

In the songs on this album, the Alpha Couple move into a house on Southwood Plantation Road in Tallahassee, Florida. The house is falling apart, a metaphor for their crumbling marriage. Sick of themselves and each other, yet unwilling to part, they begin drinking themselves to death.

The album's liner notes, presumably written from the husband's point of view, add another dimension to the story, as does the album's (now defunct) promotional website, written by Darnielle and designed by his wife Lalitree.[2]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[3]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[4]
Pitchfork Media (6.7/10)[5]
PopMatters (favorable)[6]
Robert Christgau (A)[7]

The music online magazine Pitchfork Media gave Tallahassee a 6.7 out of 10 when it first released [8] as well as putting it at number 176 on their list of top 200 albums of the 2000s.[9] The album also received positive reviews from websites such as PopMatters [10] and Dusted.[11]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Tallahassee" – 4:42
  2. "First Few Desperate Hours" – 3:03
  3. "Southwood Plantation Road" – 2:45
  4. "Game Shows Touch Our Lives" – 3:48
  5. "The House That Dripped Blood" – 2:53
  6. "Idylls of the King" – 3:32
  7. "No Children" – 2:46
  8. "See America Right" – 1:54
  9. "Peacocks" – 3:44
  10. "International Small Arms Traffic Blues" – 2:50
  11. "Have to Explode" – 3:21
  12. "Old College Try" – 2:52
  13. "Oceanographer's Choice" – 4:08
  14. "Alpha Rats Nest" – 2:10

Personnel[edit]

  • John Darnielle: guitar, vocal, bells, keys, xylophone, harmonica
  • Peter Hughes: bass, guitar, harmony vocal, drums, keys, shaker
  • Franklin Bruno: guitar on "See America Right," piano on "Have to Explode" and "No Children"
  • Michael Ivins: tambourine on "Southwood Plantation Road"

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hughes, Peter (9 August 2013). "Inside Listening: The Mountain Goats' Bassist On His Own Band's Albums". NPR. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Lalitree Darnielle. "Credits". Retrieved June 6, 2010. 
  3. ^ Allmusic review
  4. ^ The Guardian review
  5. ^ Pitchfork Media review
  6. ^ PopMatters review
  7. ^ Robert Christgau review
  8. ^ Pitchfork Staff. "Tallahassee". pitchfork media. Retrieved June 6, 2010. 
  9. ^ Pitchfork staff (September 28, 2009). "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 200-151". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  10. ^ Dave Heaton. "Tallahassee". PopMatters. Retrieved June 6, 2010. 
  11. ^ Jason Voss. "Tallahassee". Dusted. Retrieved June 6, 2010. 

External links[edit]