Harlem Roulette
  • Harlem Roulette
  • The Mountain Goats
  • Transcendental Youth

The Mountain Goats - “Harlem Roulette”

John Darnielle is a songwriting genius. Take “Harlem Roulette.” It’s about Frankie Lymon, a New York doo-wop singer in the ’50s and ’60s who used the large advance he received for an upcoming album to buy cocaine, ultimately overdosing. No one else would dare write a song about such a tragedy, but Darnielle takes the story and fashions it into a heartbreaking realization: “the loneliest people in the whole, wide world are the ones you’re never going to see again.”

The Mountain Goats has been one of the more prolific and consistent bands in recent memory, especially considering Transcendental Youth is their twentieth studio release over the last twenty-one years (between both cassette and CD) and their third in the last two years.


every dream’s a good dream, even awful dreams are good dreams if you’re doing it right


the Mountain Goats - Harlem Roulette

From Transcendental Youth (2012)

A live performance for Pitchfork from the upcoming new album. John Darnielle introduces the track.