Sure, you love professional wrestling and its illustrious, rich history. But do you love it enough to make an entire album about it? Do you love it enough to work up a song about Chavo Guerrero, Sr., or Apache Bull Ramos, or chronicling the tragic death of Bruiser Brody? Well, Durham, NC-based indie folk band The Mountain Goats sure do.
Everything about Beat the Champ harkens back to the glory days of wrestling. With titles such as “Southwestern Territory,” “Heel Turn 2,” “Unmasked!,” and “Hair Match,” it captures the essence of wrestling from a bygone era. It’s the kind of album that covers a very small population subset – the overlap between folk-rock and golden-era fandom – but manages to produce a little bit of magic for all its listeners.
References to Red Shoes Dugan – a guy that doesn’t even have his own Wikipedia page? The Mountain Goats manage to be both encyclopedic and harmonic on Beat The Champ, with an upbeat energy that soars above even the most dynamic cruiserweight champion.
The album already has rave reviews, too:
Rolling Stone gives it a 4.5 out of 5 says, “It’s a knockout.”
The Line of Best Fit says, “Beat the Champ distills the very essence of classic Mountain Goats into another compelling album.”
And the LA Times proclaims, “It’s the writer standing on the top turnbuckle, gauging the reaction, pumping the crowd before leaping onto the lifeless bodies of his naysayers.”
So maybe those reviews are a little bit wrestling analogy-heavy… but I’m sure The Mountain Goats don’t mind one bit.