Archive | March, 2019

Certain Songs #1497: Pavement – “Starlings of the Slipstream”

Album: Brighten The Corners
Year: 1997

Darlings on the split screen

We’ve already discussed the circumstances under which I didn’t get to see Pavement play Lollapalooza in 1994 — Billy Corgan backlash for “Range Life” — but during that post I neglected to mention that I also somehow totally missed seeing them on the Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain tour not once but twice, though there were mitigating circumstances.

I moved from Fresno to the Bay Area in June of 1994, and because of that, I missed them at the Great American Music Hall in April of 1994 — I was basically living on savings, credit cards and unemployment checks at that point — and then I missed them in Fresno in September, 1994. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know about that Fresno show until after it happened.

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Certain Songs #1496: Pavement – “We Are Underused”

Album: Brighten The Corners
Year: 1997

It wasn’t anything new for Pavement, but a good chunk of the best songs on Brighten The Corners started off in one place and ended in a completely different place, so if you didn’t like the relatively quiet beginnings and/or slow tempos, if you had any kind of patience at all, songs like “Transport Is Arranged,” “Old To Begin” and “Type Slowly” totally and completely paid off by their ends.

But probably no song had a weirder journey that “We Are Underused,” which I think is both a generational observation as well as a song about accepting that you’re aging. Alternating stop-and-go verses with anthemic choruses, “We Are Underused” ends up a long way from the lone harpsichord (I think) that opens it.

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Certain Songs #1495: Pavement – “Shady Lane / J vs S”

Album: Brighten The Corners
Year: 1997

You’ve been chosen as an extra in the movie adaptation of the sequel to your life

Two decades after the fact, the conventional wisdom seems to be that Slanted and Enchanted is a low-fi milestone; Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain a classic-rock masterpiece; Wowee Zowie is too weird not to be great, but after that, forget about it.

WRONG!!

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Certain Songs #1494: Pavement – “Painted Soldiers”

Album: Brain Candy Original Soundtrack
Year: 1996

All my soldiers are painted

For reasons that I have no idea what they are to this day, I never really paid any attention to The Kids in the Hall when they were a thing — possibly because they were on the paywalled HBO — though I’ve really enjoyed a lot of their work since, especially Dave Foley in Newsradio and Color Me Obsessed, Scott Thompson in The Larry Sanders Show and Mark McKinney in Slings and Arrows and Superstore. Probably the other two guys, as well.

But of course, all of that happened after their 1996 film, Brain Candy, which was actually so far off of my radar that I didn’t even know that Pavement had contributed a song to it until I got the Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition in 2006.

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Certain Songs #1493: Pavement – “Grave Architecture”

Album: Wowee Zowee
Year: 1995

It takes a lot

Yet another Wowee Zowee song with a weird structure and cryptic lyrics — which start with a disarmingly friendly Stephen Malkmus asking us to “come on in –“Grave Architecture” ended up grabbing me for a pretty weird reason, even for me: the rhythm guitar on the choruses (I guess) reminded me of some the mid-1960s Rolling Stones produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, circa The Rolling Stones Now!, Out of Our Heads or Aftermath

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