According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of empathy is the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communi- cated in an objectively explicit manner. If having to describe The Mountain Goats’ newest release, Transcendental Youth in one word, that word would be empathet- ic. Each song recounts several scenarios of drug addiction, depression, and other serious life struggles.
Every song on this album is lyrically penetrating. The content of the songs are rather weepy but with a pinch of positive insight sprinkled throughout the tracks, the songs tend to end with hope for the future. For example in the number enti- tled “Harlem Roulette,” we as the listener are presented with the lines, “The loneli- est people in the whole wide world are the ones you’re never going to see again.” If you are anything like myself you had to sigh after reading those lyrics that is some really deep shit. Later in the song we are inspired with “Every dream’s a good dream, even awful dreams are good dreams, if you’re doing it right.” Thank god, I feel a little better now.
The four-minute track and my person- al favorite song denominated “Lakeside View Apartments Suite,” seems to portray the tale of a drug addict locked it what seems to be a beautiful world. The story is rather melancholic, however the actual sound of the song is rather beautiful. Piano driven and vocally the song glides into what some would call “bliss.”
Overall the sound of the album as a whole seems to reflect the content of the lyrics, some of the songs are rather dole- ful, where others pick you up and are rather optimistic. Much like the character of Hannah Montana, this album lives the best of both worlds.
Lyric upon lyric, Transcendental Youth was everything I wanted it to be and more. In fact it was lyrically probably one of the best albums I’ve indulged in personally this year. It is a gem in 90FM’s Heavy Rotation.
Mitchel De Santis – 90FM Program Director