Graphics By Madeline Rosemurgy

Modest Mouse is often characterised by front man Isaac Brock’s distinctively lispy vocals, their memorable guitar riffs, and their truly unique musical style. It’s difficult to compare any other band to Modest Mouse in both sound and consistent quality, as they’ve grown from album to album, but kept true to their roots. No matter what type of social situation you’re in, it seems there’s a Modest Mouse album appropriate. With a fan base that tends to be either all-or-nothing, I’ve compiled my list with consideration to both the fans who are highly committed and to those who only stick around for the popular radio tracks.

The band’s latest release was an EP called No One’s First And You’re Next. Since then, Outkast’s MC Big Boi has released news that he’s collaborating with Modest Mouse on their next upcoming album at his own Stankonia Studio. He told MTV, “”I’ve been a fan of the band for a minute… We’re all musicians and producers and artists, and it’s just like a big-ass brainstorm, a brain-stormin’, tsunami, typhoon, tectonic-plates-movin’ kind of thing.” That’s enough to keep us patient while the album is in the works. Alongside finishing the album, the band is doing a bit of touring this summer in Europe, and hopefully will give us a hint of of a release date to come.

In the meantime, check out our favourite Modest Mouse songs thus far, and we’ll keep you updating on forthcoming releases.

Also, check out this amazing piece Pitchfork did on The Lonesome Crowded West.



20. Missed The Boat // Listen
19. Interstate 8 // Listen
18. Cowboy Dan // Listen
17. Medication // Listen
16. Never Ending Math Equation // Listen


15. Paper Thin Walls // Listen
14. Tundra/Desert // Listen
13. Parting Of The Sensory // Listen
12. The World At Large  // Listen
11. Beach Side Property // Listen

10. “All Night Diner”

“All Night Diner” is a quirky track with affected strumming and shakers building into a twangy, repetitive singsong. Brock’s voice sways from gentle and nonchalant to more powerful vocal thrusting. One of my top picks on Building Nothing Out Of Something, “All Night Diner” is pretty typical of Modest Mouse’s songwriting style during their highly experimental days.

9. “Dashboard”

Being the popular radio hit off of We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank made “Dashboard” one of the most memorable Modest Mouse tracks. Highly rhythmic percussion is accompanied by perfectly placed vocal harmonies and symphonic sounds via strings and trumpets. This track is pretty much impossible not to sing along to — especially the last ten seconds as the song comes to an impactful close.

8. “Gravity Rides Everything”

This track is one that displays the softer side of Modest Mouse. The instrumentation and lyrical choice are on the same page here, as the optimistic lyrics “everything will fall, fall right into place” soothe the listeners, if only to give them a period of rest between the chaotic and melancholy sounds that prevail on The Moon & Antarctica.

7. “Float On”

“Float On”, their first big radio single, is the song that got many fans hooked, but that doesn’t discount the track in the least. Modest Mouse has an incredible way of writing ridiculously catchy songs, and here you’ll find a strong testament to that claim. When deconstructed, each instrument/vocal part has a pretty basic sound, yet, when all combined, they become a genuine work of art that engrains itself into the listener’s memory.

6. “Dramamine”

“Dramamine” is my favourite track on the album that got me “into” Modest Mouse (This Is A Long Drive…). Carrying the signature Modest Mouse juxtaposition of a mellow melody paired with a more aggressive hook, “Dramamine” has a steady rhythm and quivering guitar, which give this track a subtle, lulling effect. It’s got a bit of a somber feel to it, as does most of This Is A Long Drive…, but that only adds to its appeal.

5. “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes”

On “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes”, an unassuming start leads into a hook that’s awesomely coarse and jerky — which is something I believe few bands could pull off as competently as Modest Mouse does. It’s difficult for me to really articulate what it is about this song that makes it so great, but it’s just one of those tracks that I consider to be nearly addictive, as I find myself literally craving it from time to time.

4. “3rd Planet”

Within the first few seconds of hearing “3rd Planet”, I get butterflies and fall back in love with Modest Mouse — hard. Despite its basic musical structure, this track is incredibly charming and full of soul. Throughout the song, you can hear little embellishments of seemingly random percussion and vocals that give the song character. Numbers four and five on this list really highlight the band’s potential to accomplish great contrast, and The Moon & Antarctica is certainly one of their most musically diverse albums to date.

3. “Black Cadillacs”

“Black Cadillacs”, a pretty simple yet super popular song, is memorable thanks to its angst-fueled chorus. The track imbues a cheerful meets cynical vibe via bright pianos and pessimistic lyrical content. Percussion crashes as the chantey singsong tapers off to a gentle close. You’ll probably find yourself singing along with this one over and over.

2. “Florida”

I can’t help but dance every single time I listen to the upbeat track, “Florida”. From the impactful start to the smooth harmonies, tempo changes and brilliantly hostile bridge, this song is perfectly constructed. “Florida” embodies everything that makes Modest Mouse the band that we all know and love. Enough said.

1. “Ocean Breathes Salty”

This was a really tough call for me to make — and I mean really though. Any devout Modest Mouse fan (and there are lots of them) would be absolutely taken aback by the mere thought of naming a number one track. Is the selection based on musical skill? Popularity? Or just my own preference? With “Ocean Breathes Salty”, I find all of those things are present — my own love for the track, an extreme popularity in the mainstream music world and the skilled musicianship that exists throughout all of their albums. Good News For People Who Love Bad News is, without a doubt, one of the best Modest Mouse albums, and “Ocean Breathes Salty” serves as the perfect example of a band that’s able to retain their unique sound while also evolving into something that will one day be considered a “classic”.

What do you guys think about the list? Totally agree? Disagree? Were there songs you think should’ve made the cut, but didn’t? Give us your feedback by commenting below.

  • Gregory D M K

    “Ocean Breathes Salty” is one of the Top 10 rock songs of the decade IMO. It is so wonderful! “Tiny Cities…” and “Gravity…” are Great, too!

  • Michael B

    My top choices which can vary depending on the day. This is my recent mix

    Other people’s lives
    Teeth like gods shoe shine
    Polar opposites
    Wild pack of family dogs
    The fruit that ate itself
    Heart cooks brain
    Spitting venom
    Little motel
    The tortoise and the tourist
    I came as a rat

  • Adam Campbell III

    These are my top 25 MM songs but I can’t put them in order:


    Edit the Sad Parts

    Interstate 8


    Heart Cooks Brain

    Trailer Trash

    Out of Gas

    Polar Opposites

    Bankrupt on Selling

    Dark Center of the Universe

    3rd Planet

    Gravity Rides Everything

    Perfect Disguise

    The World at Large

    Float On

    Ocean Breathes Salty


    The Good Times Are Killing Me


    Fire it Up

    Missed the Boat

    Little Motel

    Strangers to Ourselves

    Lampshades on Fire


  • Patrick Peterson

    Agreed. I’m also in disbelief that “Ocean Breathes Salty” made the top 20. “Bankrupt on Selling” should be on here too, in my not SO humble opinion.

  • Antirrhinum

    How is no one mentioning Interstate 8? That is hands down their best song. My top 5 is

    1. Interstate 8
    2. Heart Cooks Brain
    3. Ohio
    4. Grey Ice Water
    5. Edit the Sad Parts

  • Mariana Escandon Cross

    I agree wholeheartedly

  • Gabe

    Kinda bummed about King Rat not being on here

  • Pierce Bivens

    I personally dislike Doin’ the Cockroach, but yeah, this list needs (ALL OF THEM)

    Trailer Trash
    Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine
    Talking Shit About A Pretty Sunset
    Spitting Venom
    Night On The Sun

    Beach Side Diner is Useless
    Also, Tundra/Desert and Missed the Boat are good but not top 20 material.
    You could knock off Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes as well.

    Either way…

  • Steve Aldersley

    I wrote a 22-part Top 100 countdown with lyrics, videos and my thoughts on each song. Yeah, it’s hard to rank songs with so many excellent options to choose from:


    100. Birds Vs Worms

    99. Fire It Up

    98. We’ve Got Everything

    97. Dukes Up

    96. Out of Gas

    95. Strangers to Ourselves

    94. Of Course We Know

    93. Space Travel Is Boring

    92. Styrofoam Boots/It’s All Nice on Ice, Alright

    91. Dance Hall

    90. She Ionizes & Atomizes

    89. Other People’s Lives

    88. Whenever You Breathe Out, I Breathe In (Positive Negative)

    87. One Chance

    86. Polar Opposites

    85. Might

    84. Pups to Dust

    83. Sunspots in the House of the Late Scapegoat

    82. All Night Diner

    81. March Into the Sea

    80. Coyotes

    79. Blame It On the Tetons

    78. The Good Times Are Killing Me

    77. Perfect Disguise

    76. A Life of Arctic Sounds

    75. Satellite Skin

    74. Ohio

    73. People as Places as People

    72. The Waydown
    71. Guilty Cocker Spaniels

    70. Florida

    69. Missed the Boat

    68. The Cold Part

    67. Whenever You See Fit

    66. Wicked Campaign

    65. Lives

    64. Beach Side Property

    63. Bankrupt On Selling

    62. Shit Luck

    61. Little Motel

    60. Satin in Your Coffin

    59. Shit in Your Cut

    58. The View

    57. Ansel

    56. Custom Concern

    55. Sugar Boats

    54. Dashboard

    53. Education

    52. Bukowski

    51. What People Are Made Of

    50. The Ground Walks, with Time in a Box

    49. Alone Down There

    48. Float On

    47. King Rat

    46. Lampshades On Fire

    45. Be Brave

    44. Night on the Sun

    43. Interstate 8

    42. The World at Large

    41. Head South

    40. The Best Room

    39. Gravity Rides Everything

    38. Tundra/Desert

    37. Paper Thin Walls

    36. Convenient Parking

    35. Life Like Weeds

    34. A Different City

    33. A Manic Depressive Named Laughing Boy

    32. Grey Ice Water

    31. I Came As a Rat

    30. Black Cadillacs

    29. Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset

    28. Ocean Breathes Salty

    27. Novacain Stain

    26. Invisible

    25. Breakthrough

    24. Edit the Sad Parts

    23. Broke

    22. Truckers Atlas

    21. Tiny Cities Made of Ashes

    20. White Lies Yellow Teeth

    19.Parting of the Sensory

    18. The Tortoise and the Tourist

    17. Bury Me With It

    16. Fly Trapped In a Jar

    15. Steam Engenius

    14. The Stars Are Projectors

    13. Lounge (Closing Time)

    12. Never Ending Math Equation

    11. Dark Center of the Universe

    10. 3rd Planet

    9. Trailer Trash

    8. Cowboy Dan

    7. The Whale Song

    6. Exit Does Not Exist

    5. Dramamine

    4. Heart Cooks Brain

    3. Spitting Venom

    2. Doin’ the Cockroach

    1. Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine

  • erin


  • Lee Cattermole

    “March Into The Sea” remains my personal favourite

  • Alana McConnell

    SPITTING VENOM anyone?

  • Brad

    King rat should be up there

  • Sara Coyle

    I was desperately searching for my long lost love of a Modest Mouse song and couldn’t remeber the title for the life of me. Came to this site to see if I’d find it and flicked through the comments and you led me to it!! Thank you so much just for mentioning the View! Now I can get on with my life.

  • Parker Evans

    Hello? Heart Cooks Brain??

  • Brandȍn Bailey

    Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine? At least Ya got Cowboy Dan tho

  • Rex Sundstrom

    Lampshades wasn’t out when this list was made.

  • Rex Sundstrom

    Truckers Atlas? Come on now.

  • straight chiller

    bummed that the view wasn’t on here. and lampshades on fire. that songs lyrics are dope. other than that pretty solid. thanks homie

  • SomeoneGreat’07

    1. Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine
    You are ridiculous for not including this on your list. 6 minutes of genius!
    2. The Stars Are Projectors
    You are ridiculous for not including this on your list. 8 minutes of genius!
    3. Ocean Breathes Salty
    Good job with this one. A classic single of theirs.
    4. Missed The Boat
    While we’re on the subject, can we change the subject now?
    5. Trailer Trash
    It’s their Fake Plastic Trees.
    6. Bukowski
    Who would wanna be such an *&^hole?
    7. Paper Thin Walls
    Everyone’s a voyeurist… Nuff’ said.
    8. Parting Of The Sensory
    Epic. Epic. Epic.
    9. A Different City
    M&A has such a mid-album streak.
    10. Convenient Parking
    It’ll be stuck in your head for DAYSSSSS>>>>>>
    11. Little Motel
    Most beautiful song on We Were Dead.
    12. The World At Large
    If the world’s at large why should I remain…?
    13. Cowboy Dan
    WE NEED OXYGEN TO BREATH! Really Sherlock?
    14. 3rd Planet
    Listen and enjoy then ask WTF? about the lyrics.
    15. Florida
    The impeccable prequel to “Parting Of The Sensory”.
    16. Doin’ The Cockroach
    And the moral of this story is… PLEASE SHUT UP!
    17. Lives
    Three songs in one. Epic and atmospheric.
    18. Polar Opposites
    I’m trying to drink away the part of the day that I can’t sleep away. Cheery.
    19. Dashboard
    Thank you for not under rating this song.
    20. Heart Cooks Brain
    The lyrics and riff to this song are so iconic they’re used twice on the album!

  • SomeoneGreat’07

    I like your list. But I might take off dashboard, move Ocean breathes salty down a little, and put on Teeth like God’s shoeshine.

  • Brandon

    Modest Mouse has so many great songs that no one would ever have the same best ever songs lists for them.

    With that being said, Trailer Trash and Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset are huge omissions on this list.

    I did appreciate the inclusion of many songs of Building Nothing. That’s probably my favorite overall album by them.

  • Andrew Robinson

    Oh and my top 2 tracks would be ‘Dramamine’ and ‘Broke’

  • Andrew Robinson

    The list is good, but I believe Lonesome Crowded West to be MM’s best album and there’s only ONE SONG from it!! Trailer Trash, Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine, Lounge (Closing Time), and Doin’ the Cockroach should probably be on the list. Also Night On the Sun! And Stars are Projectors!!! AArggh.

  • Fedoraus

    I now consider Lampshades on Fire my favorite song and Little Motel as my 2nd. Lampshades on fire hasn’t been released on any albums yet.It will be on the next album but they have only done it once live. You should look it up.

  • Fedoraus

    I now consider Lampshades on Fire my favorite song and Little Motel as my 2nd. Lampshades on fire hasn’t been released on any albums yet.It will be on the next album but they have only done it once live. You should look it up.

  • Niko

    You’re the good things, night on the sun, good times are killing me?!? And I think world at large and float on should be number one. Like you said, why pick just one?

  • Joe Wright

    Personal fave is bankrupt on selling, but MM are truly an awesome, amazingly unique band. Isaac Brock basically inspired most of my guitar style

  • Joe Wright

    How did the U.K start indie rock/pop????

  • Dean

    All of this is very correct, thank you.

  • Chelle

    How is Trailer Trash not on here?

  • Rob Wilson

    Satin in a coffin?

  • Chuk Chuk Chuk

    This list isn’t that bad but dashboard and float on should switch places IMO

  • Eric Weiner

    Thanks Mac!

  • mac

    Nice list and page design. As someone that got into MM late and who tends toward the music versus the lyrics (but I totally get how well theirs are), I’m missing a few stellar songs: Fire It Up; The Whale Song; Satellite Skin; and Life Like Weeds. Thanks for putting this together.

  • Eric Weiner


  • Levi

    How do they not stick out?? You obviously haven’t listened to them that much

  • major7

    This a *great* band. I’d submit that “Bury Me With It” and “Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine” belong here somewhere…..

  • Eric Weiner


  • Mikey

    A best song list without Doin the Cockroach? I REJECT YOU, FALSE PROPHET.

  • Mr Bear

    Dramamine. Love/Hate Thang Seriously-melodic, perhaps …Too Much Contrast?? I`m determined to post my Own List Later; Ty For Doing your Best; Queen-Bee X:)

  • Mr Bear

    Akira; TOTALLY disagree! You must be a little Younger than me perrrraaapppsss This List would Be the toughest cookie to crack and I`m sure there were a couple slipped-through the Net. Still….Having Been a MM Fan for Years Now, Congrats! I Couldn`t have done a Better-job and would almost Certainly Agree with Number 1, As Is X:)

  • Akira

    With the UK being the birthplace of indie rock/pop, Modest Mouse just doesn’t stand out from the mass of indie bands out there. Unfortunate since some of my American colleagues seem to love them.

  • Yep – great song! It was ridiculously difficult to do this feature… they’re just too good!

  • datelinetoronto

    I’ve always loved Talkin’ Shit About A Pretty Sunset. That would have definitely been in my top 5.

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