Today the Mountain Goats announced a new concept album in partnership with Wizards of the Coast, makers of Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. The album, In League with Dragons, comes out April 26 and you can listen to the first single here. Spoilers: It’s real good.
A Mountain Goats/WotC collaboration isn’t something I wanted before today, but now it’s all I can think about. Well, mostly. Between repeat listens of the new song Younger, I’ve also come up with some other collaborations I’d like the Mountain Goats to consider, now that I know such things are possible.
If you’re John Darnielle and you’re reading this, A) thank you for being here, and 2) no pressure, okay? Just throwin’ some ideas out there.
Mountain Goats X Pokemon
There’s a lot of potential here for the Mountain Goats to really explore some of the weirder social implications of how the Pokemon universe works. There’s the obvious premise of “capturing sentient beings and forcing them to fight,” of course, but we’ve all thought about that by now.
What about the fact that children are sent out into the wilderness at 10 years old? What is that child’s life actually like? How does a global infrastructure entirely reliant on a “child adventure”-based economy function? Why is there so much organized crime? What do these people do all day?
Mountain Goats X Dark Souls
Alright, this one I’m actually planning to do myself, but I wouldn’t be upset if the Mountain Goats beat me to it. There’s a lot of nuanced bitterness in the world of Dark Souls, and I think Darnielle et al would really excel at translating that ambiance into music. Can you imagine the Mountain Goats interpretation of Ceaseless Discharge’s backstory? Or the tragedy of Quelaag’s poor sister? I get chills just thinking about it.
Mountain Goats X Mortal Kombat
If you’ll allow me to swing all the way back in the other direction for just a moment, Mortal Kombat‘s 20-plus years of absurdity would make for such a good Mountain Goats album. Maybe we’d get a look at Liu Kang’s teenage years, or the tale of a Outworld baker forced to make croissants for Shao Kahn. How could Striker emotionally handle going back to being a beat cop after everything he experienced at the tournament? Why won’t anyone believe him?
Mountain Goats X The Flight of Dragons
The Flight of Dragons is a fictional bestiary released in 1979, which details the evolution and person habits of a great many type of creatures, dragons included. A Rankin/Bass film of the same name, loosely based on the world described by the book, was released in 1982, staring James Earl Jones and John Ritter.
Okay, yes, this would be extremely close to a Dungeons and Dragons album. I mostly put this here as an excuse to make sure John Darnielle has heard the movie’s theme, as written and performed by Don McLean. It’s a good song, John.
Mountain Goats X Blade Runner
The themes of cyberpunk — dehumanization, unchecked capitalism/corporate greed, class struggle, disability erasure — are fertile grounds for a concept album from the Mountain Goats. And with specific regards to Blade Runner, no Mountain Goats release has attempted to explain the ending of the Blade Runner Director’s Cut, or has offered a narrative reinterpretation of the “tears in the rain” monologue — at least, not as far as I’m aware. If I’m wrong about this, please let me know. I would love to be wrong about this.