I bought this album a couple years ago. Listened to it a couple times over, and placed it in my CD collection under albums I haven't dusted off in a while like Return to Cookie Mountain and Loveless. Until recently, it remained cramped there-- kept company by the other albums that defined the musical explosion I experienced in my mid-teen years. I realize now I was just young enough where I couldn't quite grasp the visual sentimentality of John Darnielle's lyrics on Sweden.
Now that I have become more familiar with the music, the songs of Sweden are quintessential Mountain Goats. Full of words about young beauty, innocent (and broken) relationships, candy shops and the California sun, Darnielle has captured something lyrically that only maybe Arcade Fire or Jeff Mangum could do. And with the choppy hits of his acoustic and his nerdy, lo fi vocals, Darnielle's sound is also distinctly his own.
I've been digging up a lot of music I haven't listened to in awhile-- since the days where austin, tony and I would sit on lunch tables during break period and pretentiously discuss the republicans, beats or whether or not Jim James wrote better music with his twirled, nipple-length hair (and who could forget the infamous Pavement vs. The Beatles debate?). One of the coolest things about music is in its ability to send you back in time, back to the attitudes and the people you surrounded yourself with when you first heard a certain piece. I can clearly remember the first times I heard Z or "All My Friends" from Sounds of Silver. I remember it so clearly because I wanted to stand up and shout "I fucking love this in a more real way than I can ever express!"
Its winter time, snow is on the ground, exams are in full throttle. You yearn for a sound that's reassuring, but in a way thats hard to explain. Hope you enjoy Sweden, and remember to keep in touch.