One of my favorite bands, The Mountain Goats, has gotten a lot of love from Mockingbird in the past; John Darnielle has a way of expressing low anthropology like few other songwriters that I listen to. His songs about dysfunctional couples are particularly good, in my opinion, and while “No Children” is a fan favorite (and for good reason), I personally really love the less celebrated “Fault Lines” off of 2002’s All Hail West Texas (as an unrelated sidenote, the disc itself is blank except for the irreverant/amusing: “Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess: West Texas! West Texas!” I feel like there are some Texans out there who wouldn’t disagree…)
“Fault Lines” is about a dysfunctional couple who try, unsuccessfully, to fill their lives/hearts with various things:
“the house, the jewels, the Italian race car,
they don’t make us feel better about who we are,
I’ve got termites in the framework, and so do you.“
The refrain varies after the different verses describing the couple’s dysfunction: “I’ve got a cracked engine block, both of us do,” “I’ve got sugar in the fuel lines, both of us do,” “I’ve got pudding for a backbone, but so do you.”
The song resonates with me, and I sing along with the above lyrics wholeheartedly while stuck in traffic (God bless L.A.) It’s also pretty amusing (you might need a dark sense of humor to agree with me on that…) Enjoy!