And I handed you a drink of the lovely little thing
On which our survival depends
People say friends don't destroy one another
What do they know about friends?
* * *
A fictional couple in the songs of John Darnielle, a.k.a. The Mountain Goats, these two individuals are known for their failed relationship and rampant alcoholism. Any songs with the word alpha in the title are considered a part of this series, as well the complete album Tallahassee. There have been many discussions on fan forums as to whether other songs belong to this series, but it is difficult to know for sure due to the frequent themes of doomed love and dysfunctional relationships in tMG songs. The song cycle starts with Alpha Incipiens and ends with Alpha Omega, with those in between chronicling the couple's attempts to cope with their feelings by drenching them in liquor as they move from California to Las Vegas, eventually settling down in a decaying Tallahassee home and there falling apart. The end of the relationship is anticlimactic, with one person simply leaving a note and disappearing one morning, leaving the other alone to eat a breakfast of boiled peanuts from Cairo, Georgia.
The peak of the couple's troubled relationship comes in the song No Children, an anthem for embracing your anger while being resigned to your fate. It is one of the band's more popular songs, frequently played live for an encore as the audience sings (or screams) along. There's a cathartic joy in being in the midst of hundreds of people all singing a chorus of "I HOPE YOU DIE! I HOPE WE BOTH DIE!", and at their core, that's what the Alpha songs are about—the moments of existential crisis when you can't ignore what has happened to you or what you've become, when the only response is to clink glasses and toast your mutual destruction.