Why is Sturgill Simpson’s High Top Mountain on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Alt country that pleasantly zooms along with lyrics that are genuinely funny and clever.
What does Sturgill Simpson’s High Top Mountain mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
“You Can Have the Crown” is a song roughly that’s equal parts rock and country but a better way to describe it is that it pleasantly zooms along with lyrics that are genuinely funny and clever. Much, much easier said than done.
That’s to say when a song jumps out with lyrics like these, I’m definitely going to be paying attention.
Well, I’ve been spending all my money on weed n’ pills
Tryin’ to write a song that’ll pay the bills
But it ain’t came yet, so I guess I’ll have to rob a bank
And I dig how this song speaks to a certain modern ennui – particularly during Covid Times – but does it in a way that’s funny and refreshing.
Oh, I’ve been spendin’ all my nights on the internet
Looking for a clue but ain’t found one yet
Just a bunch of Mopars, guitars, and other stuff I can’t buy
This live version, filmed at Sun King Brewery (and literally in front of stacked cases of brew), is also really good, and the visuals of Sturgill and the band if nothing else clue you in to the fact that these guys are alt country.
“Life Ain’t Fair and the World Is Mean” plays in similar territory, and has a nice boot stomping swing to it.
And “Poor Rambler” has an upbeat Johnny Cash vibe that’s catchy and fun.
Sturgill Simpson and crew show particularly well live, as you can see here from Live on KEXP.
This is one artist and one band where, if I heard them playing from afar in some small dive or music venue, I’d say, “We need to stop what we’re doing and check them out now.”
Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to Sturgill Simpson’s High Top Mountain
I give Brian Koppelman credit for cluing me in to Sturgill Simpson. Koppelman and his writing and creative partner, David Levien, created and show run the terrific TV series, Billions, and are also the creative duo behind great movies like Rounders and Knockaround Guys. Koppelman is also active on Twitter and helms a fun and insightful podcast called The Moment.
And on top of all that, he also has great taste in music, which is often used to great effect on Billions (in addition to its pop culture-drenched dialog). Oh! Just one more: he’s responsible for coining the term The Royale for one’s first cup of coffee in the morning, bestowing upon that sacred moment and time of day the regal terminology that it so richly deserves.
Some stats & info about Sturgill Simpson – High Top Mountain
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Country, Rock, Pop, Alt Country, Country Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 3.5 out of 5 stars
- When was High Top Mountain released? 2013
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #951 out of 1,000
Sturgill Simpson’s High Top Mountain on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.
Anyway, Koppelman talked up Simpson to the point that I felt compelled to check him out one day. I’m glad I did.