Mr. Beast was quite an experience. There were some songs that were too loud and chaotic for me, while others were so beautiful I would tear up. As a whole this album is great and I believe there is a little taste of something for everyone, which is rare in albums. I have read a few reviews and many say that Mogwai isn’t versatile, but I disagree. Their old music was extremely loud and noisy, while this album is more tamed. Mogwai uses their music to manipulate the heart strings and eye ducts of their listeners. I can only imagine what they have in store for the future. On his thoughts about Mr. Beast, Alan McGee said “It is the record that they have always threatened to make …For Mogwai this is a creative career high … sure other records might sell more – but they are going to be hard pressed to beat this.” I agree. I have yet to listen to their other albums, but from the reviews this is one of their best ones.
In my first entry I wrote about what I thought the album cover meant. While I was researching the album recently, I stumbled across the actual artist’s commentary. The artist’s name is Amanda Church and the title of her piece is called “Milkbar.” For her explaination about the meaning she said “You know that scene in ‘Aliens’ (the second one I think) that bishop the robot is all messed up by the alien and lying on the ground? He’s got this white milky stuff pouring out of him instead of blood, and as a kid watching it, that was so completely horrific and profoundly sad to me…’Mr. beast’ gave me the same feelings of horrible (un)sense but also sustaining beauty.“ I thought Church’s explanation was so simple yet thoughtful. “Mr. Beast” is so tragically beautiful and Church’s commentary only reaffirmed that idea more in my head. I now see the album, and though I haven’t seen the movie, I am filled with the same feelings she was as a young girl.
After finding out about the album art I wanted to find out the significance of the album title and the band’s name. On the band’s page they answered both these questions. Two members of the band “were walking out to the hall where all the taxi drivers have those signs that say passengers’ names on them. One of them said ‘Mr and Mrs Beast’ which, after a 10-hour flight, is funnier than life itself.” I thought it was a nice little story, but it made me a bit sad that there wasn’t a deeper meaning. I shouldn’t have been surprised since most of their song titles also are chosen at random. As for the name Mogwai, “the name comes from the film Gremlins and means ghost in Chinese. It has no significant meaning.” I thought this was an interesting tidbit as well, but again I was disappointed to see there was not more thought put into it. I realize now, however, that Mogwai doesn’t put emphasis in words. To them the words are just background. The real important thing to them is the music. That is how they express themselves. Who needs to decipher symbolic titles and band names when they say everything they want through the notes they play?