Transcendental Youth

The Mountain Goats - Transcendental Youth
Critic Score
Based on 23 reviews
2012 Ratings: #125 / 952
User Score
Based on 54 ratings
2012 Ratings: #95
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. 

Beats Per Minute

With Transcendental Youth, the Mountain Goats have proven that they’re more than capable of engaging us with even without the unimpeachable witticisms of their frontman.

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
The opening 4 tracks are so solid, and 'Diaz Brothers' is a blast, possibly the most fun & energetic song Darnielle has ever written. 'Counterfeit Florida Plates' is a pretty cool, chill tune about a very unchill person, the title track is a great closure with some smooth-as-f*** brass that makes for a heart-warming intro, and White Cedar, while more bare-bones than the first 4 tracks, is intensely sad and moving. There's not much to comment on with the remaining 4 ... read more
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#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