One day, after all is said and done and I have all albums by John Darnielle, I’ll write an exposition on the importance and interest of his select works. For now, I’ll say that his music is quickly rivaling Dylan in it’s importance to me. Alas, there can never be another Dylan, but Darnielle’s work is as brave and artistically forward as anything I’ve heard. And bravery is such a seldom exercised characteristic for musicians. My favorite artists in music tend to put out their music with an emotionless shrug towards those that don’t “get it.”

I was thinking over my 28 years on this planet, who are the artists that have impacted me most? For a quick list of five:

1. Dylan
2. the Mountain Goats
3. NOFX
4. Aesop Rock
5. Bright Eyes

That’s a tough list to break down, but the top two are great because of their writing and the willingness to do things outside the norm.  Both pioneers to certain extent.  The next two really opened my eyes to different genres.  I listened to every NOFX album growing up and it drove my musical tastes until getting into college.  In college Atmosphere and Aesop Rock opened up hip hop in a lot of ways, groups like Binary Star, Sage Francis and others verified it.  I still love hip hop and I still listen regularly (recently to Apathy, Big Quarters, Nas, DoomTree).  Bright Eyes makes it here by default, but I’m not sure Connor Oberst will continue that name or just switch to his legal, either way his writing is off the charts.  Mark my words, he’ll rival the popularity of Neil Young in 30 years for our generation.

John Darnielle, the lead singer of the Mountain Goats, has surpassed everyone due to his artistic proliferation and willingness to put anything down on paper.   So many songwriters are conventional or too consistent.  Darnielle is consistent musically, but writing wise it’s very tough to pin anything down.  I currently own 8 albums and will likely pick up the rest of them over the next few years. I can’t get enough of it. So many of the songs are in the Hemingway Iceberg Theory style, without clear explanation.

Here’s a song off  of  We Shall Be Healed called Your Belgian Things: