Thursday, January 7, 2010
Pavement - We Will Never Forget
So I still read Pitchfork from time to time. I once applied to write for them, but guess what happened with that? That's right, they offered me the job and my 18 year old self said "nah I'm gonna wait for something a little more substantial, thanks." How cool is that? Pretty cool. For a lie. Anyway, they have this Pavement spotlight up right now which is cool and I guess it would be exciting that they're playing shows again if there were any chance I would be able to see them, but this video they put up of Stephen Malkmus playing "We Dance" at the Pitchfork festival a couple years ago really sort of opened my eyes to some things.
1. Pavement were a young people band. They still are, far as I'm concerned because I got into them when I was in high school after they'd been broken up for like 3 years. I had a teacher who was into them and saw them when they were at their peak back when he was young. So the only common factor between us was that we both got into them when we were about the same age, even though my fandom was after the fact.
2. Old Pavement fans are weird and need to buy new t-shirts. The printing is all faded and it looks like you're into a band called "Pa e t." I get it, you're old. How is teaching community college going?
3. Pavement did not need to reunite; this one is tricky. You would think that I, loving Pavement as I do, would jump at the chance to see them play. It's like a second chance I don't deserve. I missed out, they were long gone before I could even think about going to see them and now they're playing again!? I felt this way about the Pixies though when I saw them at Coachella a few years ago. Halfway through the set I wondered why I wasn't elated. This was like gaining an audience with the king. This was even better actually because the king, we all thought, was dead but now here he was getting his rings kissed left and right. I realized I wasn't that into it because it felt like too little too late. I wasn't at some club with a drink seeing a band that was really doing something new and special. They hadn't even written any new songs. What was the point? I missed out, why not just move on? I've since tried not to create these artificial brushes with legend since it just wouldn't be right.
4. Pavement do not need to have a "best of" collection. Seriously. Who is, as Ben put it, a "casual Pavement fan"? What are they Def Leppard now? People who listen to Pavement listen to every album. Most of us were happy to even buy them twice when every single god damn album got the remaster-plus-bonus-tracks treatment. So now who's the market? We all own two copies of every album. Some of us have 3 if we got them on vinyl. Do you really think there are that many people who just haven't really had the time to listen to this band just because there hasn't yet been a best of?
Now these points were all solidified in about 3 minutes of Stephen Malkmus playing an acoustic guitar with his voice cracking. Maybe he was sick or blew his voice out or something, but he was butchering this song. Not only a Pavement song but one of THE Pavement songs that made me realize I loved this band. And all of a sudden the big sunglasses didn't look cool and neither did the pink polo shirt. The sunglasses made him look old, like a rest home elder with massive shades on, and the pink of the shirt was sucking the color out of his skin making him look gray. Almost cancerous. And the whole display just made me wish Pavement had stayed in the coffin. That way they wouldn't look so dead.
Here is a song to play us out off of the oft-forgot mash-up album of Slanted & Enchanted and Jay-Z's Black Album. I give you my favorite track off "The Slack Album."
DJ N-Wee / Loretta Clarity