ALRIGHT, ALREADY: Modest Mouse’s Float On and its Continued Popularity

ALRIGHT, ALREADY: Modest Mouse’s Float On and its Continued Popularity

In this first edition of Play It Again, we examine the strangely influential earworm ‘Float On’ and Modest Mouse’s power over people.

Play It Again analyzes the sticking power of some songs and their abilities to compel people to go so far as to permanently alter their skin with cheesy lyrics.

In early 2004, America was graced with Modest Mouse’s album Good News for People who Loves Bad News. Okay, so most of America was graced with that album. Some of us were simply grazed or even potentially maimed by this album, particular the breakout hit, Float On. Coupled with a goofy, animated music video, Float On rose steadily to become No. 1 on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart six months after its release. Fortunately for the band, unfortunately for die-hard fans, Float On’s popular appeal was a lot of folks first intro to Modest Mouse, and the song was a huge departure from their usual sound. (This isn’t too unheard of with indie bands — they break from their usual heavier, harder stuff and the pop rock Borg eats the hit alive.)

I backed my car into a cop car the other day

Well, he just drove off — sometimes life's okay

I ran my mouth off a bit too much, ah what did I say?

Well, you just laughed it off and it was all okay

And We'll All Float On (via IG—samseatattooist) #PlayItAgain #FloatOn #ModestMouse #MusicTattoo #LyricsTattoo

Alright, already. The truth is, music is great for providing personal and political context. What happened in 2004? Think about it for a second… Yes, George W. Bush was re-elected, and the collective progressive American consciousness felt particularly squashed. In an interview with the A.V. Club, song writer Isaac Brock said he wanted to make a more positive album, again, for personal and political reasons: “Our president is just a fucking daily dose of bad news! Then you've got the well-intentioned scientists telling us that everything is fucked. I just want to feel good for a day. I'd had some friends die, and with Jeremy kind of losing it... After we got out of that dark spot with everything melting down with the band, I just wanted to make a positive record.”

A fake Jamaican took every last dime with that scam

It was worth it just to learn some sleight of hand

Bad news comes, don't you worry even when it lands

Good news will work it way to all them plans

We both got fired on, exactly, the same day

Well, we'll float on, good news is on the way

Yes, the song has a positive message, essentially telling everyone to take a chill pill for a second. It has a goofy sound, and an easy to remember chorus, so when it’s late at the bar, it’s easy to scream-sing to your friend. And it’s totally made its way, along with Modest Mouse’s logo, onto the skin of many, many adoring fans.

Lyrics that spout platitudes will always, always connect with the public at large. We want cheese, even if the cheese is from an indie band we’ve never heard of, and that’s how One-Hit Wonders are made.

Already we'll all float on

Now don't you worry we'll all float on alright

Already we'll all float on alright

Don't worry we'll all float on

Alright, Already

And we'll all float on alright

Already we'll all float on alright

Don't worry even if things end up a bit

Too heavy we'll all float on alright

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