The decade has almost come to an end. And of course, you know what that means—lists, `best ofs’ and all kinds of general retrospective features and columns. Treble is no exception, hard at work on figuring out the best albums and singles of the past nine years. Yet, before we get into albums and singles, we’re taking a look at the best non-single tracks to emerge since the Y2K scare proved to be a non-event. Every week we’ll be highlighting a handful of our favorite tracks of the decade, so keep checking back to hear about what songs remained on repeat on our iPods, CD players, tape decks and turntables since Jan. 1, 2000.
Modest Mouse – “Night on the Sun”
From Everywhere And His Nasty Parlour Tricks
I started to hear rumblings about Modest Mouse in 1997, upon the release of their lauded sophomore album, The Lonesome Crowded West. However, an unfortunate combination of a vile hatred for the source of the recommendation and being personally unprepared for something so daring, led to a long unexplainable prejudice against the band that wouldn’t be remedied for another seven years. Though many friends had made valiant attempts at changing my mind, I’ve never been one to cave in to persuasion. I usually have to `discover’ things on my own. Plus, fans of Modest Mouse, at the time, seemed unreasonably rabid, like Deadheads, but less friendly. So, I sat waiting at a Thai restaurant near the now defunct, yet soon to be revived Crocodile Café, having just finished an interview there, planning to kill some time with some excellent Phad Thai. And that’s when I heard it.
I had no idea which song it was, or any of the other salient details, but I couldn’t stop listening. After the slow and hypnotic drum and guitar intro, I knew immediately it was Modest Mouse, figuring from Isaac Brock’s tell-tale voice, and yet, I wasn’t turned off. On the contrary, I was mesmerized. I almost had to be shaken awake by the wait staff. I memorized as many of the lyrics as I could so that I might track down the song later on. It turned out to be “Night on the Sun.” Those memorized lyrics included one of my favorite Brock lines, “You’re hopelessly hopeless, I hope so, for you.” At nearly eight minutes, it’s an epic song that only escalates as it goes, turning almost into a jam-bandy kind of tune, which is also shocking considering how averse I am to jam bands. The CD that was playing in the restaurant, I later learned, was one of the employees’ mix CD’s of various Brock tunes, as I found that the second song I heard and memorized was a track from the Ugly Casanova CD. But, Good News for People Who Love Bad News was soon to be released, and the combination of that album with my first hearing of “Night on the Sun,” made me a longtime Mouse fan.