TRACK: the Mountain Goats - "Heel Turn 2"

TRACK: the Mountain Goats – “Heel Turn 2”

If you missed the news, the Mountain Goats are set to release their 15th studio album (!!!) and that’s really depending on who you ask. There have been countless demos, “bonus albums” and unofficial compilations that could push the count higher. In any case, with 600+ songs under his belt (that’s a rough estimate based on what I actually have — there are songs I’m missing) it’s an understatement to use the word prolific when describing John Darnielle’s music. He’s written about all manner of subjects: crumbling relationships, meth, organ harvesting operations on the moon, loose biblical interpretation and on rare occasions going the autobiographical route. So, it was inevitable he’d eventually land on songs about professional wrestling.

The entirety of the forthcoming Beat The Champ focuses on the subject which according to Darnielle was a substantial part of his formative years. There’s a lot of drama, upheaval and emotion to explore there, so while I’ll admit I was initially skeptical, a couple dozen listens to “The Legend of Chavo Guerrero” has changed my tune. I’m all in. This latest single, premiered on Welcome To Night Vale, is a look at the idea of a heel turn. In wrestling terms, that’s essentially when the good guy turns on his fans. You can hear some of that here and per usual, there’s layers of meaning behind Darnielle’s words. It’s not quite as upbeat as Chavo, but there’s some gorgeous piano playing and I think this may be the longest song I’ve heard from the band. I’m all for variety with my albums anyhow. Did I mention that I love this band? Listen to “Heel Turn 2” below.

Beat The Champ is out 4/7 via Merge.