THE GREATEST OF ALL TUNES (G.O.A.T.) is a series of posts, producing my 100 favorite songs of all time. The master list is here, and I update it about every two weeks or when I have another 10 songs or so.
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.