The Pop Culture Love Tester: Radiohead + The Mountain Goats


If you ever took a junior-high date to the arcade (or an older one to certain retro-minded drinking establishments), then you’ve probably experienced the Love Tester — a contraption that allows you and your beloved to test your attraction by simply gripping a handle and seeing how much heat you can generate. But why trust hand-clamminess as a measure of your compatibility when Flavorwire is here to forecast the future of your relationship using a far more reliable gauge: your cultural preferences? Send us your and your partner’s favorite band, song, movie, book, or TV show, and we’ll (anonymously) read the tea leaves to see whether you were meant to be. First up: a lady (E.) who loves The Mountain Goats and a gent (P.) who worships Radiohead.

That fans of these two bands would find each other is hardly shocking: both make music that’s smart, serious, and more than a bit depressing. TMG tend to focus on specific characters and interpersonal impasses, while Radiohead’s apocalyptic vision has inflated to global proportions in the years since “Creep” and The Bends found them glooming out about love — but it seems likely that E. and P. see the world in similarly pessimistic terms.

Where they differ is likely to be in communication style. Radiohead have increasingly become more about compositional evolution than lyrical eloquence; TMG have evolved musically over the years — John Darnielle did, after all, start by recording on a boombox — but not to an extent that would impress Thom Yorke or Jonny Greenwood. Rather, Darnielle’s songs are about creating precise lyrical portraits and close-up portrayals of relationships and emotional states. If their favorite bands are representative of their personal tendencies, P.’s temperament may be somewhat experimental — a great tinkerer, perhaps — and E.’s more dramatic and literary. He may want to work through conflicts together, whereas she might retreat and wallow.

Those differences aside, E. and P. are likely to be generally compatible; the question is, are they too much alike? When things get too serious, who will lighten the mood? We give you our blessing, E. and P., but make sure you don’t let dark clouds pollute your moody romance.