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Top 10 Modest Mouse Songs

Credits: Matt Campbell George Cimurt
Script written by George Cimurt With a name inspired by Virginia Woolf, this Washington-based indie rock band has enjoyed hit after hit since their very first album. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Modest Mouse Songs. For this list, we've chosen our entries based on a combination of the band's fan favorites as well as their most commercially successful songs. Special thanks to our users Cesar Velasco and PsychicMoneyMan for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by George Cimurt

Top 10 Modest Mouse Songs


With a name inspired by Virginia Woolf, this Washington-based indie rock band has enjoyed hit after hit since their very first album. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Modest Mouse Songs.

For this list, we’ve chosen our entries based on a combination of the band’s fan favorites as well as their most commercially successful songs.

#10: “Doin’ the Cockroach”
The Lonesome Crowded West (1997)

From the very first gentle guitar strums of this classic, you know it’s only gonna get better! With fast-paced guitar and drums to match the frenetic pace of the lead vocals by lead singer and guitarist Isaac Brock, the lyrics reflect the despair experienced during a pitiful life filled with drudgery. Belonging to their second album, which is considered to be one of the finest indie rock albums of the 1990s, this angry hit is head-bangingly relatable and best hits the spot when you’re in a bad mood.

#9: “Gravity Rides Everything”
The Moon and Antarctica (2000)

The second track off their first release on a major label, their new style and meditative lyrics are best showcased in this mellow ballad. On an album produced by Brian Deck, this dreamy song touches on themes of death and fate while drawing you in with its moody and atmospheric sound. The track quickly became a fan favorite despite being a major departure from the band’s heavier sound, and would become a sound that the group would revisit on later releases.

#8: “Cowboy Dan”
The Lonesome Crowded West (1997)

Accompanied by band mates Jeremiah Green on drums and Eric Judy on bass, Brock uses this six-minute jam to examine the greed and arrogance in western society through the titular character of “Cowboy Dan”. While the track begins quietly, it doesn't take long to explode into classic Modest Mouse insanity. The lyrics perfectly match the driving rhythm of this hard-hitting track, and the guitars are enough to make any listener bob their head. Cowboy Dan may be a major player in the cowboy scene, but this track showed that Modest Mouse was a major player in the indie scene.

#7: “Paper Thin Walls”
The Moon and Antarctica (2000)

One of the more cheerful and humorous songs from the band’s catalogue, this bouncy anthem is as truly spoken as it is pleasant to listen to. Brock’s typically pessimistic lyrics are at play here once again, this time examining the issues of privacy in today’s society. The tune is poppy, while also maintaining the aggression and nuttiness of old school Modest Mouse, creating a song that long-time fans and new listeners can love equally.

#6: “Ocean Breathes Salty”
Good News For People Who Love Bad News (2005)

On their 2004 album that was certified platinum, Grammy nominated, and named Planet Sound's #1 Album of 2004, this is one of the singles that helped the band make it to the mainstream. Reaching number 6 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and becoming certified gold, this commentary on religion and the afterlife reflects the band’s growth and maturity. The song also reveals more of a pop sound that introduced the band to a wider audience, and even made its way across the pond onto the UK Singles Chart.

#5: “Float On”
Good News For People Who Love Bad News (2004)

This Grammy-nominated rock song is arguably the band’s most famous single, becoming their first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. The track also received some recognition from Rolling Stone magazine, being named as one of the top 40 songs of the 2000s. Frustrated with all the negativity in the world, Brock wrote this hit in an attempt to get people to “feel good”. Featured in film, television, and video games since, this track reminds us that, no matter how bad it gets, we’ll “all float on okay.”

#4: “The World at Large”
Good News For People Who Love Bad News (2005)

Going from a feel good tune to a more melancholy one, “The World at Large” was released as a promo single off the band’s fourth full length album. Featuring a melodic guitar piece and calm vocals from Brock, the song acts as a prelude to “Float On”, showing that despite how tough things get, everything will be alright. It has even been featured in hit TV shows like “The O.C.”, and its brooding feel is perfect for those rainy afternoons.

#3: “Dramamine”
This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About (1996)

The very first song on their very first full-length album, in some ways, it is the song that started it all. A morose song with a contemplative sound and lyrics that make you ponder over your existence, the meaning has been long-debated. Is the song about a life without purpose? A dysfunctional relationship? Or just simply about a person who is tripping out on Dramamine? Whatever the exact message, it’s definitely a song that touches on themes of emptiness and loneliness, and captures all the feelings of depression and anguish.

#2: “3rd Planet”
The Moon and Antarctica (2000)

With lyrics that seem to imply the abortion or loss of a baby, and symbolism that involves nature and the universe, this haunting rock melody is one of those songs that just never gets old. A darker and colder message enveloped in a symphonic sound that includes the strum of the lap steel guitar, this track is one reason The Moon and Antarctica album rose to #5 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. A Modest Mouse classic, 3rd Planet is commonly listed as a favorite among die-hard fans, and it’s not hard to see why.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Never Ending Math Equation”
Building Nothing Out Of Something (1998)

“Dashboard”
We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank (2007)

“Teeth Like God's Shoeshine”
The Lonesome Crowded West (1997)

“Bankrupt on Selling”
The Lonesome Crowded West (1997)

“Talking S*** About a Pretty Sunset”
This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About (1996)

#1: “Trailer Trash”
The Lonesome Crowded West (1997)

A song about futility, hopelessness, frustration, and one man’s inability to move on, everything about this hit reaches anyone who has ever felt anxious, insecure, and lost. From the perfect blend of guitars, drums, and vocals to the hypnotic lyrics, it’s the song that perfectly demonstrates the indie band’s talent for using wordplay. “Trailer Trash” is raw, emotional, and it ranks as one of their most intensely personal tracks of all time.
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