Modest Mouse – Coyotes

Hello. It seems that this will be my first review.

Today I’d like to talk about a song called ‘Coyotes’ by the American indie rock band Modest Mouse. This track is from Strangers to Ourselves. A rather recent album that came out just last month. Modest Mouse doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. For someone who hasn’t heard of the band before, I’d consider this track a pretty good introduction.

Now admittedly this track didn’t immediately grab me at first. I think this is one of those songs that you have to listen to a few times before it starts to grow on you. It takes the form of a gentle ballad, quite a contrast to the crunchy sound the band is usually known for.  The song is mainly characterized by light acoustic picking, although some electric guitar riffs work their way into the song’s climax. Musically ‘Coyetes’ doesn’t particularly break the mould. It’s not particularly experimental and for the most part the song is fairly subdued, however it’s an excellent track to relax to.

Now let’s talk lyrics. Isaac Brock has always had a gift with words. His lyrics feel more like poetry, and this song is no different. I do feel as though it’s not quite as thoughtful as some of his older work, but they’re still pretty special.

The album seems to have a reoccurring theme of environmental awareness, and this is certainly evident here with such lines as:

“Another branch on the tinder-bound tree
Birds flying low, looking downwards to feed
Mankind’s behavin’ like some serial killers
Giant ol’ monsters afraid of the sharks”

Isaac doesn’t hesitate to criticize society’s callous lack of regard for nature. He notes how it’s rather hypocritical of humans to be afraid of ‘killer animals’ such as sharks, when humanity is undoubtedly the most dangerous species on the planet. This has some rather clear political undertones regarding humanity’s treatment of animals.

There’s also a short refrain that plays throughout the song:

“And we’re in love with all of it And we say, “What can we say?”

This line really speaks for itself. Isaac points out how society might be quick to profess their love for nature, but when it comes down to it, they’re content to shrug their shoulders and say “What can we say?” It’s rather paradoxical that humans adore nature, yet are complicit in its very destruction.

The lyrics give you plenty to think about, and it’s for this reason I enjoy listening to the song again and discovering new ways to analyse it. Overall Coyotes is an enjoyable track to listen to and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Also, I’d recommend watching the music video, which follows a rather adorable coyote trapped on a train, which was inspired by an actual incident which happened in Portland. The video is pretty well directed and tells an interesting story of its own.



You can listen to the song over at the playlists page.


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