The Alpha Couple is a fictional couple that recurs in several early Mountain Goats songs. As a general rule, all songs with "Alpha" in their title are songs about the couple (referred to as "Alpha songs"), although a few songs without the word "Alpha" have been confirmed by John Darnielle to be part of the couple's story.
Knowledge of the couple's storyline is incomplete, but it is known that they began their relationship in California, moved to Las Vegas, and then to Tallahassee, Florida.
Although the couple is purely fictional (Darnielle himself has been happily married since the 1990s), Darnielle has stated that his own parents' unhappy marriage was at least partial fodder for the couple. In the interview in 2009-02-24 - Herbst Theatre - San Francisco, CA, he also credited John Berryman's poetry as an inspiration for the song series.
"Alpha Omega" was intended to be the final song in the Alpha song series, but when the Mountain Goats signed to 4AD Records, Darnielle decided he wanted to give a more proper sendoff to the couple—the entire Tallahassee album is about their struggles, and "Alpha Rats Nest" is now the assumed last song in the series.
Although most lyrics of the Alpha songs are written in a way that makes them gender-neutral, Darnielle has confirmed that the narrator of "Alpha Double Negative: Going to Catalina" is female.
Known Alpha Songs[edit | edit source]
- "Alpha Aquae"
- "Alpha Chum Gatherer"
- "Alpha Compunction"
- "Alpha Desperation March"
- "Alpha Double Negative: Going to Catalina"
- "Alpha Gelida"
- "Alpha in Tauris"
- "Alpha Incipiens"
- "Alpha Negative"
- "Alpha Omega"
- "Alpha Rats Nest"
- "Alpha Sun Hat"
- "Design Your Own Container Garden"
- "First Few Desperate Hours"
- "Game Shows Touch Our Lives"
- "Going to Dade County"
- "Going to Federal Prison"
- "Have to Explode"
- "The House That Dripped Blood"
- "Idylls of the King"
- "International Small Arms Traffic Blues"
- "Letter from a Motel"
- "New Chevrolet in Flames"
- "No Children"
- "Oceanographer's Choice"
- "Old College Try"
- "One Winter at Point Alpha Privative"
- "See America Right"
- "Southwood Plantation Road"
- "Spilling Toward Alpha"
- "Star Dusting"
- "Twelve Hands High"
- "Wishing the House Would Crash"
Canonically non-Alpha songs[edit | edit source]
The following songs are commonly thought to be about the Alpha Couple, but John has stated explicitly that they are not.