Album Reviews: Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Listen to Blake & Jake discuss the critical response to the album at 42:00 below:
When Modest Mouse released 'Good News for People Who Love Bad News' in 2004, they were a band in the midst of a major transition. Drummer Jeremiah Green was replaced by Benjamin Wikel, and guitarist Dan Galluci returned after an extended absence. The band was also on the verge of breaking into the mainstream, with lead single 'Float On' reaching number one on the Modern Rock charts, new eyes and increased scrutiny faced the album.
The songs still rely on Brock's echoing guitar patterns and Mobius-strip lyrics, delivered in the voice of a harried, hip-hop-inflected square-dance caller, but though the vehicle stays the same, the scenery outside the window changes considerably.
Noel Murray at the AV Club was pleased at how the band managed to retain the unique vocal stylings and textures that built their reputation, while also showing growth and expanding their sonic palette.
Still, it's remarkable that, after four long full-lengths, an album's worth of singles, and a couple of EPs, Modest Mouse are still finding ways to invigorate their sound while retaining a sense of definiteness and sincerity.
The album received a 7.9 from Matt Le May at Pitchfork (positively glowing considering the outlet's reputation for snarky takedowns at the time), with the offer comparing it unfavourably to their prior album, but enjoying the emotional depth and freshness of their lyrics and sound.
On the group’s fourth proper album, a mightier Mouse refine their weirdness and become a pop band while grasping at dark truths that pop ordinarily denies... As other bands grow old rather than grow up, Modest Mouse have finally found the big cheese.”
Barry Walters at Rolling Stone managed to work an album review into his collection of mouse puns, praising their ability to make an album accessible, while still staying true to their weird, off-kilter roots.
Faced with the seemingly impossible task of retaining new fans who found them through their hit single, and pleasing the fans who were with them since their experimental beginnings, Modest Mouse somehow managed to succeed, producing a classic album in the process.