Man singing

the Mountain Goats/YouTube

‘I hope we both die’: The Mountain Goats’ ‘No Children’ goes viral on TikTok

A nearly 20-year-old song about divorce gets its day on TikTok.

 

Audra Schroeder

Internet Culture

Published Oct 27, 2021   Updated Oct 29, 2021, 10:53 am CDT

TikTok is home to many revived and remixed songs. But a 2002 Mountain Goats track is an unlikely revival.

The song “No Children,” from the group’s 2002 album Tallahassee, is a propulsive track about a divorce, infused with singer John Darnielle’s pointed lyrics. “In my life, I hope I lie/And tell everyone you were a good wife/And I hope you die/I hope we both die” is one sample lyric.

As Vox details, the song saw popularity on TikTok earlier this year, but this month it went truly viral, as Gen Z took comfort in it and puzzled over it. Even more unlikely: The song has inspired a dance trend.

The Mountain Goats, founded by Darnielle in the early ’90s, also has a pretty die-hard fanbase, and you’d think that when your favorite band’s song goes viral in another context, there’d be some gatekeeping. Refreshingly, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

@11trotok

If there’s one thing we’re not gonna do, it’s gatekeep The Mountain Goats #greenscreen #themountaingoats #nochildren #moralorel #booktok #indie

♬ No Children – The Mountain Goats

The 54-year-old Darnielle told Vox that he’s not one to contemplate virality that deeply: “If I’m sitting here thinking about my own virality too much, then I’m going to wind up stewing in an ocean of self-contempt.” That said, he added that he’s not going to try to capitalize on the moment by joining TikTok.

“There is a certain joy in sort of feeling like, well, the kids have got a thing going on that I’m not going to fully get,” Darnielle told Vox. “But I can just enjoy watching. I think people fear getting older and fear that they’ll feel left out, but there’s a kind of buoyancy in that left-out quality sometimes, if you ride it the right way.”

But the Mountain Goats haven’t been left out. Streams of “No Children” spiked on Spotify, and surpassed “This Year” as its most popular song. And there’s now a movement to get the Mountain Goats to replace COVID-positive Ed Sheeran as this weekend’s SNL musical guest, started by Darnielle himself. “TikTok Dancing Massive” has a ring to it.

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*First Published: Oct 27, 2021, 2:56 pm CDT