Certain Songs #1499: Pavement – “Carrot Rope”

Album: Terror Twilight
Year: 1999

Simmer, simmer, simmer down

Here’s the thing about Terror Twilight: it’s fine. It’s perfectly fine. That said, I saw Pavement for the second time on that tour — at the Fillmore, which was much preferable to the Warfield — and enjoyed them very much even as they focused the set on Terror Twilight material, all of which was perfectly fine live as well.

Problem is, that “fine” wasn’t what I wanted from Pavement; I wanted some combination of weird, funny, noisy and melodic. I never got those vibes from Terror Twilight, except for the final two tracks: the ominous jam “The Hexx” and the final almost too silly “Carrot Rope,” helpfully called “… And Carrot Rope” on the album cover because why not.

And in fact, that “Carrot Rope” ended the album came after a fight with producer Nigel Godrich — who produced Terror Twilight after OK Computer and before Kid A and Scott Kanneberg, who like ending the album with its weirdest, catchiest song, which started off with a strange vocal round-robin, featured lyrics that even Malkmus said he didn’t what they were about, but killed ever single time they hit the chorus.

Simmer, simmer, simmer down
Simmer, simmer, simmer down
Be patient and I’ll let you see my
Carrot rope, feed my thrill
I got beat by weather
Carrot rope, feed my thrill
I got beat by weather
Carrot rope, feed my thrill
It’s time to get me off of the ground
The wicket keeper is down

Buoyed throughout by a defanged wah-wah, and featuring a bouncy, near-bubblegum rhythm throughout, the chorus of “Carrot Rope” was also catchy as fuck, actually almost too catchy to stick at the end of a record that probably could have used that kind of strangeness somewhere in the middle. But alas, it wasn’t to be.

“Carrot Rope” official video

“Carrot Rope” live in 1999

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