THE GREATEST OF ALL TUNES (G.O.A.T.) is a salute to the greatest songs of all time. One song per artist, with suggested further listening and covers!
The weirdoes won a Grammy! Before 2005, Modest Mouse were a strange, inaccessible indie band who made music that was very interesting but so far from the mainstream that it didn’t even qualify for deep tracks on AOR. That all changed when they released, “Float On.”
In stark contrast (intentionally, according to bandmember and cowriter Isaac Brock) to everything else Mouse had ever done, Float On is about optimism and the power of positive thinking. It’s like that trite poster: “It’s not your aptitude that determines your altitude, it’s your attitude!” The narrator hits a cop car, but the police drive away without so much as a never-you-mind. He gets tricked out of some cash, but it was worth it just to learn some sleight of hand. Whenever I’m down, I play this song: It’s cynical enough that I don’t feel insipid for feeling better, but it’s also bright and shiny and full of hope.
It was the band’s first and only #1 hit.
Further listening: The band tried the optimism thing again with the song, “Dashboard,” but it didn’t work as well. There’s really no other Modest Mouse song like “Float On.”