NOTE: This is my one and only Chart-a-thon post, so I do apologize if it gets long-winded.
Modest Mouse. Modern Baseball. Two bands whose names are just similar enough to combine to make that really dumb title. Did I release these 2 packs at the same time as an excuse to use that title? I wish. It was more of a happy accident.
So at the end of last year I released a pack of songs that included Modest Mouse’s “Dramamine”. In the author’s notes I wrote that I was working on a pack of Modest Mouse songs that I was hoping to get released soon. Cut to nearly a year later and I can finally say I have enough songs ready to qualify for the “bigger release” I alluded to.
When I released my Jeff Rosenstock 12-pack back in 2019, I had intended to make that Part 1 of a series of “Greatest Hits” packs going forward. Modest Mouse songs seem to consistently get higher download volumes, so I knew they were the logical next band in line. However, work on the pack slowed as my attention got pulled to other songs I wanted to chart.
Someone had approached me asking if I had any other Modern Baseball songs in the pipeline, which I did! They were on my list of future “Greatest Hits” candidates. Seeing as someone showed direct interest in that particular band, suddenly I was putting more effort into Modern Baseball songs than Modest Mouse songs. I started to think maybe I should prioritize the release of the Modern Baseball pack instead. But I couldn’t let anyone down who may have been hoping for Modest Mouse, so it got to the point where I didn’t really have a clear direction for releases going forward. I wasn’t putting any effort into wrapping up any packs; just all over the place random charting.
Then Yaniv got in touch with me about working on a Replacements pack for Chart-a-thon, which I (somewhat begrudgingly) agreed to. Honestly, it was a rough start, but after a few weeks/months something finally clicked and I found the motivation to complete all the songs. It felt good to finally finish charts, doubly so because it was for charity (don’t forget to donate!), and it inspired me to finish up even more songs. I revisited the 2 large packs I had been working on and decided to compromise the amount of songs per artist for a quicker release time.
When I think back to the glory days of Rock Band DLC, the single-artist 12-pack was a thing of beauty for fans, but a 6-pack would be nearly as good. I mean most bands would just get a single or a 3-pack if they were really lucky. 6-packs are like finding a 50 dollar bill on the side of the road. Sure, it’s not a 100 dollar bill, but holy shit 50 bucks! So please enjoy this 100-dollar-value of packs. They’ve both been a long time coming.
Going in alphabetical order to avoid any bias, I’ll start with Modern Baseball. For those unfamiliar with the band, they have two distinct lead singers, so I wanted to give them equal weight. One song per singer per album. While I don’t think this pack is comprised entirely of the obvious choices, I think it includes enough of their “hits” to satisfy the casual fans. If this pack was made entirely for myself I probably would’ve had a bigger focus on the first album because it’s my favorite, but I feel like I’m in the minority on that.
Tears Over Beers
Singer: Jake Ewald
While no singles were released for Sports, if there was a clear Jake-led song from this album, it’s this one. They played it quite often both live and for multiple YouTube sessions. It’s decently challenging on both guitar and drums and has a chorus reminiscent of Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris”. This one is a must-have for fans.
Singer: Brendan Lukens
The only song from the album to get a music video. While I personally would’ve chosen others before this one, I couldn’t justify going deep when I’m actually a fan of the song. But seriously, expect more from this album later down the line because my actual favorites got sidelined for this one. Nice and simple song though.
Singer: Jake Ewald
Only two singles were released from this album and neither one was sung by Jake. However, like “Tears over Beers”, this one is the clear choice just based on YouTube sessions. Also it’s a straight up banger. Probably the most consistently fun song across all instruments, guitar and drums especially. Even if you’re not a fan of the band, I’d recommend.
The Old Gospel Choir
Singer: Brendan Lukens
Probably the only song that I’d call a straight up deep-cut in this pack. There were actually two other song options that would’ve made more sense over this one. But you know what, Harmonix would often include at least one deep cut in their artist packs, so let’s just say I’m keeping up with that line of thinking. More people should hear this one in my opinion anyway.
Singer: Jake Ewald
Possibly the biggest song in this pack. I’ve seen at least a couple people request this song specifically, so it’s nice to release something I know people will enjoy. While not technically a single, this song did have an accompanying music video and the band was clearly quite proud of it. The guitar riff alone has already cemented itself as a modern classic.
Just Another Face
Singer: Brendan Lukens
One of the best songs they’ve recorded in my opinion. The last track off their final album, this song works well as a closer, both for the band and for this pack. The song’s subject matter deals with depression and self-hatred, likely factors that led to the band’s breakup. But it’s also incredibly catchy. Not particularly difficult on any instrument, this is more of a singer’s song.
I suppose it makes sense to detail this band second, considering they’re more well-known. Modern Baseball would be the opening act while Modest Mouse is the headliner. Not to say either one is better than the other, but Modest Mouse sure takes the cake in popularity. They’ve also existed for nearly three decades, which is enough to separate their career into eras. This pack is mostly comprised of songs from what I consider their “golden era”, before their album Good News for People Who Like Bad News which included their breakthrough hit “Float On”.
Their very first single released before their debut LP, this one has been considered a fan favorite since the beginning. It was later re-released on the compilation album Building Nothing Out of Something in 2000, which is likely where most were initially exposed to it. It’s a fun little ditty worth checking out.
From their debut LP This is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About. This is one of the slower songs they’ve released. There wasn’t much of a clear song choice from the album aside from “Dramamine” which I released last year. But this song has always felt important to me. They even did a sped-up instrumental version of the song on a deluxe edition of The Moon & Antarctica. Some neat guitar riffs.
This is one of the last major songs from The Lonesome Crowded West to be released, so I’m happy I was able to include it. The longest song in the pack, this one was quite a doozy to chart. Tempo is all over the place; it starts slow, picks up, gets even slower, picks up again, then finishes with the band going off to close it out. A must-have for fans.
Paper Thin Walls
No official singles were released for this album, but I’d bet this would be one if they did. It’s super catchy. Also the drums for this one are really fun! I remember charting bass for this one was a real pain because the usual methods just weren’t working. Had to consult some tabs and listen real closely to make sure it looked right. Hopefully there aren’t any problems with any charts.
Also, This song is one of two songs I enjoy that includes the phrase “Laugh hard, it’s a long way to the bank.” Not significant, but still funny haha.
I Came as a Rat
Another song from The Moon & Antarctica I believe could’ve been released as a single. Not much to say about this one except that it’s pretty simple throughout. Nothing overly complicated, just a good song. Dunno why I decided to release two songs from the same album when there are plenty of others to choose from, but hopefully that’s not anyone’s concern.
The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box
The only song in this pack released post-”Float On”. The second single from their long-anticipated sixth studio album Strangers to Ourselves. At the time they hadn’t released any new music for about six years, so when their first single “Lampshades on Fire” didn’t impress me much, it was a little disheartening. Luckily this song released shortly before the album came out and renewed my interest. Still overall not a great album, but I can’t deny this is a good song.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s not forget that Chart-a-thon is for charity! If you download any of these songs as well as any others released as part of the Chart-a-thon event, a donation is much appreciated. The recommended rate is 1$ per custom downloaded, though feel free to donate as much as you’d like! For more info visit the link below: