Philosopher: Lewis Michael Powell (SUNY Buffalo)
Artwork: The Sunset Tree by the Mountain Goats (4AD Records, 2005). Folk-rock studio album [39:20].
100 Words: I’m somewhat surprised to be picking a musical work, as I tend to be most passionate about novels. But, a year ago, I listened to the Mountain Goats for the first time, and since then I’ve listened to virtually nothing else. John Darnielle’s music and lyrics are intensely emotional and personal. The Sunset Tree—an autobiographical album about his difficult childhood—kicked off my Mountain Goats obsession. No other artwork I’ve encountered has even come close to this sort of intense, sustained monopoly on my affections and attention, and there are no signs of me losing interest any time soon.