Transcendental Youth

The Mountain Goats - Transcendental Youth
Critic Score
Based on 24 reviews
2012 Ratings: #124 / 1029
User Score
Based on 58 ratings
2012 Ratings: #101
Liked by 1 person
October 2, 2012 / Release Date
LP / Format
Merge / Label
Indie Rock / Genres
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A.V. Club

It’s another perfectly observed collection of songs made real by Darnielle’s deceptively plainspoken poetry.

The 405

As an introduction to the perhaps intimidating world of the Mountain Goats, Transcendental Youth is as good a place to start as any; many of Darnielle's favourite subjects are covered, and in poetic verse, with capable musical backing.

Drowned in Sound

If Transcendental Youth is the best thing Darnielle’s ever done, it’s only because it’s about five per cent tighter and better-played.

Consequence of Sound

It’s perennially refreshing to hear the work of someone who so obviously does not care what critics think of him; Darnielle’s music reliably gives you the world from his eyes. 


It is an unlikely collection of absolute pop anthems, more so than most Mountain Goats albums.


Song for song, Transcendental Youth doesn't have the consistency of the Mountain Goats' strongest records, and it lacks both variation and character motivation around the middle. 

One of the most exciting and well-arranged Mountain Goats albums, this is made all the more emotionally resonant by how raw and fragile that excitement is. Matthew White’s trumpets crow loudly and hollowly, the drums rushing on like wind and time, the piano dancing along with a desperate enthusiasm that can’t quite mask its own sadness. Darnielle sings like someone forcing a smile through tears, wearing a bravado that peels away in layers like plaster in a rain-soaked, derelict ... read more
Upon re-listening to this record, the album fails to stand out in the same way that some of the other groups albums have. The sound of the group remains the same, but the songs are less grounded in the typical concepts and ideas that the group enjoy playing with to craft a fanciful and engaging piece of work. The music however continues to hold this record up and allow it from falling below expectations; it simply doesn't raise them.

Favorite track: Night Light
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Year End Lists

#32/Pazz & Jop
#50/No Ripcord

Track List

  1. Amy aka Spent Gladiator 1 
  2. Lakeside View Apartments Suite 
  3. Cry For Judas 
  4. Harlem Roulette 
  5. White Cedar 
  6. Until I Am Whole 
  7. Night Light 
  8. The Diaz Brothers 
  9. Counterfeit Florida Plates 
  10. In Memory of Satan 
  11. Spent Gladiator 2 
  12. Transcendental Youth
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Added on: July 9, 2012