#199: Slanted and Enchanted, Pavement
I feel like I’m going to get some hate for this one, but here we go: I didn’t get it. I tried, really hard.
The only Pavement song I’ve encountered before is (of course) “Cut Your Hair,” their only real brush with the mainstream. And I love that song! I’m just a boy with a new haircut and that’s a pretty nice haircut!
This is a little bit different, a little more indie. According to the RS blurb, S&E is “one of the most influential rock albums of the 1990s; its fuzzy recording style can be heard in the music of Nirvana, Liz Phair, Beck, the Strokes, and the White Stripes.”
Now, those are all bands I LOVE, and maybe that’s why I struggled with it so much. They predated and created all the things I love, but they’re a different thing entirely.
One thing I do love about Pavement is how much Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins hates them. On their album Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (which clocks in at #434 on the list), Pavement’s song “Range Life” takes kind of a shot at the Pumpkins, saying, “They don’t have no function/I don’t understand what they mean.”
Even though Malkmus has said that they were mocking their band name and not the band itself, Billy Corgan was so angry about it that he got them dropped from Lollapalooza that year.
“Summer Babe — Winter Version” — I know I said I “didn’t get” this album, but the grunge guitar here is really so pretty. Also, the imagery of his girlfriend snapping off her fingers and eating them is amazing.
“Trigger Cut/Wounded-Kite At :17” — Just wow, with some of these titles. However, hidden inside these mouthfuls of song titles and mashy-fuzzy guitars are some genuinely lovely melodies. I also love the weirdo coda at the end with the keyboard.
“Zurich is Stained” — This one is hiding a lovely melody, too.
“Chesley’s Little Wrists” — Just because I don’t get it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a this delightful phone-booth production.
“Loretta’s Scars” — I love the ladder note progression on “Lo-re-tta.”
“Two States” — $40 million indeed.
“Perfume-V” — NOW we’re cooking with fire!
“Fame Throwa” — ANARCHY! I thought this song was over like five different times.
“Jackals, False Grails: The Lonesome Era” — I was not optimistic after reading this song title, but I LOVED this one. It may have been my favorite song on the album. I’ve got one holy life to give. Malkmus said this was inspired by “The Classical” by the Fall.
“Our Singer” — Say what you will about Gen X, they did a great job of writing songs about having no follow-through.
LEAST FAVORITE SONGS:
“In The Mouth A Desert” — In some ways, I think this is a “You-Had-To-Be-There” type of album.
“Conduit For Sale!” — I’m tryin/I’m tryin/I’m tryin/I’m tryin to get over these pretentious lyrics, but I just can’t.
IS RS FULL OF IT?
This was Pavement’s debut, and I definitely see the value in it. Maybe I have to listen a few more times so I do “get it.”