Soothing Song Sundays: “World at Large” by Modest Mouse

Tessa Helfer, Staff Writer

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Without a doubt, “World at Large,” by Modest Mouse, stole this week’s Soothing Song Sunday.

Modest Mouse, founded by the Montana native, Issac Brock, was established in 1993. Brock, who was 18 at the time, was living in Issaquah, Washington when he and two friends, Jeremiah Green and Eric Judy, started the indie rock band.

“World at Large” was featured off of their fourth album, Good News for People Who Love Bad News, in 2004.

This song can completely grab a hold of you and has the effect of making someone think about their individual place in life. “World at Large” is relevant to many who are moving on with their lives, whether its graduating from high school, moving out of their childhood home, leaving their old mindset behind, or simply just moving out of their comfort zone.

Modest Mouse captured the meaning of moving on and moving forward into what is known as the “real world.” They created not only the emotional part of moving forward, but also the physical part that takes place along with it. The focus of the song is on Brock’s vagabond lifestyle, and when the seasons change, he changes along with them.

The opening to “World at Large” begins with guitar chords introducing the mood of the song.

“Ice-age heat wave, can’t complain / If the world’s at large, why should I remain? / Walked away to another plan / Gonna find another place, maybe one I can stand.”

These lines establish the theme of the song where someone is trying to find their place in life when the whole world is theirs. However, they don’t know where to start, where to go, or who to be.

“I move on to another day / To a whole new town with a whole new way.”

The saying, “floating through life like a feather,” can certainly be used to describe the lifestyle that Brock is being admitted to.

“You don’t know where and you don’t know when / But you still got your words and you got your friends.”

These lines express the idea that even without having a plan or place in life, you can still count on two things: yourself and your friends.

“The days get shorter and the nights get cold / I like the autumn but this place is getting old.”

These lines make the listener wonder what he’ll do next.

“I pack up my belongings and I head for the coast / It might not be a lot but I feel like I’m making the most.”

After a few more lines of the seasons changing and his journeys of moving place to place continues, he adds a few more lines that certainly make this song and its meaning come together.

“Walked on off to another spot / I still haven’t gotten anywhere that I want.”

His aspect of life is he not having a place to go or a a plan to seek out; however, he continues to live this way, trying to find meaning in himself or in a certain place.

The song ends with, “I know that starting over is not what life’s about / My thoughts were so loud I couldn’t hear my mouth / My thoughts were so loud I couldn’t hear my mouth.”

It’s ironic because in the line above he is stating that his thoughts got so loud that he could no longer hear what he is saying; however, at the beginning of the song, he mentions that one of the only things you have in this world, are your words.

The ending line of the song makes it apparent that he was getting more and more lost as the song continued, until the end of the song, where he was so lost that he didn’t even have his words to rely on anymore.

Whether “World at Large” was relating to his childhood where he grew up living in the trailer park of his mom’s boyfriend’s, or if the song was focusing more on his nonstop moving as he got older, it definitely hits hard when you sit down and listen to its lyrics instead of just the melody it puts forward.

It’s quite easy to lose your balance in the world and even lose your place at times, but it is prominent to keep moving forward. This might be what Modest Mouse was trying to get across: Keep “walking on off to another spot,” until you find yourself or find the meaning in something.

Over time, Modest Mouse has added and lost many members, but the band is still making music today. Their sixth album was released was on March 17, 2015, called Strangers to Ourselves.

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