Impressions after seeing Pavement play at Edgefield last night
Maybe I missed this very obvious point, but Pavement's songs are pretty sad. I dunno, I suppose I knew that the "slacker" label never really meant anything (and there was proof of that last night: Malkmus can clearly play the hell out of the guitar. Sloppy is an affectation, and he wears it well, but it's a choice in his world), but last night we heard these songs back to back to back. So the set kicked off with "Gold Soundz," a song off the same album that spawned "Cut Your Hair," and it's crazy to think of these guys in their 20s/30s writing this stuff:
Go back to those gold sounds/And keep my advent to yourself
Because it's nothing I don't like/Is it a crisis or a boring change
When it's central, so essential,/It has a nice ring when you laugh
At the low life opinions/And they're coming to the chorus now
And then you've got one of the best "dammit, this hits me in the head at the wrong time" lyrics ever in "I'm flat out./You're so beautiful to look at when you cry" from "Shady Lane." And let's think about "Spit on a Stranger," which gives us this beautifulness:
I've been thinking long and hard about the things you said to me
like a bitter stranger
and now I see the long, the short, the middle and what's in between
I could spit on a stranger
Okay cool. No wait, that last song was from their last album, but here's something from the first, from "Here," and seriously, I almost didn't post these lyrics because they are awesome and something you should discover while listening to a mixtape someone gave you, or at the very least, when standing outside on a perfect Oregon night watching the least likely reunion show since the Pixies or something:
I was dressed for success, but success it never comes
And I'm the only one who laughs
At your jokes when they are so bad
And your jokes are always bad,
but they're not as bad as this
...and so I'm wondering: was this a band that stopped playing because "Cut Your Hair," which along with good old "She Don't Use Jelly" arguably iced the "novelty pop songs of the mid nineties" cake, but also didn't at all reflect the sort of corporate what the fuck and genuine "jeez, this stuff all kinda sucks and it's really getting to me" vibe* that we are seeing above?
I mean, I guess I am saying that I always thought of them as the cool older brother to Beck in his "Loser" stage, but they are more like Radiohead's dreamy good looking cousin who, instead of raging about corporations, instead tries to act either uninterested or uncaring, but fails at both.
All this from a reunion show, folks. Go see these guys.
*admittedly, this might just be why my brain is at lately