Album: Pig Lib
. . .
Despite naming his post-Pavement debut after himself, Stephen Malkmus actually almost instantly fell back into a band situation, dubbing his backing musicians — drummer John Moen, bassist Joanna Bolme (both of whom played on Stephen Malkmus) and keyboardist Mike Clarke (who joined soon afterwards) — “The Jicks,” and until 2018, the Jicks played on his records, even if they weren’t always credited as such.
Anyways, the first of these was 2003’s Pig Lib, which set up a pattern of really good records that had the usual fantastic guitar playing, and almost always one song that jumped out at me, like today’s song “Us,” which starts of with Moen’s straightforward beat, a pair of jangly, stuttering Malkmus guitar hooks and pretty harmonies from Bolme on the catchy verses.
I wish we could get our act together
Make some sense of present tense alright
Take our time with what we find and fear it
Don’t you know there’s someplace else that we can go
Billions of trees to climb
After each verse, there’s a cool organ wash from Clarke over which Malkmus teases us with rising guitar leads, which eventually burst into a full-blown solo after a slowed-down bridge, which is pretty much there to break the song up and set up the solo.
And while the guitar solo isn’t quite as spectacular as the long jam on the previous song, the math-rocky “1% of One” I do love the atmospheric noises he’s coaxing out of his guitar, especially the final solo at the end, which threatens to evolve into a full-blown rave up, but decides not to. Sometimes less is more.
Did you miss a Certain Song? Follow me on Twitter: @barefootjim
The Certain Songs Database
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.
Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)
Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page