It starts out with just an acoustic guitar being ramdomly strummed in the corner of a room, as if Robert Pollard hasn’t quite worked out the song that the rest of the band — who are filing into the room and grabbing their instruments — are going to play next.
Suddenly, he finds a riff, and “Tractor Rape Chain” explodes into full-blown technicolor glory, guitars perfectly interlocked, drums right on the spot, and everything right with the world. Maybe this is low-fi, but it sure isn’t a song that was accidentally recorded.
This time, when the guitars pop-in-and-out of the mix, it’s for emphasis, not because there was a problem with the recording.
Meanwhile, Robert Pollard alternates verses about a relationship coming apart with a chorus about the furrows a tractor makes in a rapeseed field, sung at the very top of his range.
Parallel lines on a slow decline
Tractor rape chain
Better yet, let’s all get wet
On the tractor rape chain
Speed up, slow down, go all around in the end
I don’t know if that’s supposed to be some kind of metaphor, or if those were just some words that fit the melody that came to his head. Probably the latter.
All I know is that I loved guitar sound on the verses and the stop and build to the chorus. And I really loved the long, arcing melody line of that chorus, how it soared at the beginning, but somehow got almost sad by the time it was over.
And when he got hung up on “Speed up, slow down, go all around in the end”, so did I. That would be the part that I would sing over and over in my head after any time I listened to Bee Thousand.
“Tractor Rape Chain”
“Tractor Rape Chain” performed live in 2014
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