Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Songs #177 & 178 - It's TWOsday!

Song #177 of 9999                                                  Song #178 of 9999

Title: Here                                                                Title: Conduit For Sale!
Artist: Pavement                                                      Artist: Pavement
Year: 1992                                                               Year: 1992
Album: Slanted and Enchanted                               Album: Slanted and Enchanted

I'm only allowing myself twenty thirty forty-five minutes tonight, so I'll have to make this quick! Which is fine, because I'm not really sure why the debut album from Pavement is so awesome. It just is. 

Oh okay, I'll try.

I chose two songs that display the band's ability to straddle a line between sincere and snarky, candid and clever, charming and cheeky. "Here" is just sublime in its simple beauty. Any first-year guitarist can play it—there are only three chords. Stephen Malkmus's vocal delivery seem almost indifferent at first but when he rises to his upper register to deliver the lines "And all the sterile striking it/Defends an empty dock you cast away," it almost doesn't matter that that the lyrics make no logical sense. Those that do are touching in a stream-of-consciousness-born-of-sadness-and-confusion kind of way. For me, this song is about loss. But for you, it could be about something completely different. The lyrics offer suggestions but no concrete answers.

"Conduit For Sale!" is not as well-known, but when I think of Pavement, I think of this song. Three chords were too many for you in that last song? How about two? That's all you need when the performance is infused with this much verve. Between insistent choruses of "I'll try" repeated over and over, Malkmus delivers a history lecture about the end of rule by the House of Savoy in Turin, Italy, concluding with the moral/punchline "Between here and there is better that either here or there." Interestingly, while I think of Pavement when hearing this song, a bunch of other people think of The Fall's 1980 track "New Face in Hell," which Pavement perhaps slightly plagiarized. (You be the judge - link.)

Nonetheless, these are two great songs from an incredible album which has been cited as one of the most influential indie rock records of all time. Worthy of two featured tracks on this fine TWOsday!

No comments:

Post a Comment