AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #38 : PAVEMENT

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Just Two Guys Messing Around

(An Imaginary Compilation of sorts – Part 3) by Tim Badger

Before I start, I’d like to thank everyone for the kind comments made regarding the last two compilations that I wrote for this wonderful series and I’d like to thank JC for indulging in the nonsense that S-WC and I keep sending him.

There are two guys in the back of my car who are wondering why S-WC and I are sitting in stone silence listening to the last two and a half minutes or so of Ride the Tiger by The Boo Radleys. Then again they have been slightly worried since S-WC and I tossed this morning.

The toss was one of two ‘governing rules’ we have added to our ‘random imaginary compilation’ pick. The toss involved me rolling a dice, if it was even then I would go first, so the first 11th band would be mine.

I roll it’s a four. So I’m up, hence why we are sitting in silence waiting for the Boo Radleys to finish.

The second rule also involved the roll of the dice – evens meant we used S-WC’s iPod and odd meant mine. His iPod has roughly 6000 more tracks on it than mine, and about 2000 of them are by obscure bands who I have never heard of (A Sunny Day in Glasgow, anyone???, No, just him I would imagine). I pray for an odd number….I got another 4. So this really explains why we are waiting for the song to finish. His iPod has been fairly eclectic this morning, we’ve had Sugar, Queens of the Stone Age, Johnny Cash, Hinds (I refer you to obscure band thing about five sentences up) and The Prodigy to name half the bands so far. We did both agree that three of these would make excellent compilations.

The 11th track starts, and within 6 seconds, S-WC says this ‘You lucky bastard’. The 11th track is Pavement and if you think I am making it up – here is a photo (kind of an unwritten rule we have added to show we don’t just make this up as we go along).

imageThe two guys in the back, looked bemused and say, quietly, can we go and watch the cricket now. It is 10.20am. I check my iPod, I have precisely 15 songs by Pavement, then I check S-WC’s – he has 109 songs by Pavement. On the way into the ground, I ask him if I can ‘borrow some Pavement’. He nods, glumly.

The next day at work (the cricket was excellent by the way, over 500 runs scored and 17 wickets went down), he hands me a memory stick with 108 Pavement songs on it (I am unsure which song he left off and why). Good luck he says, it will be very difficult. I plug it in to my computer and start to listen to them. After a while I can categorically say, Pavement are excellent and I am glad that I now own more than 15 of their songs. If you have never listened to Slanted and Enchanted I thoroughly recommend it, followed by Wowee Zowee.

Anyway, here is the Pavement Imaginary Compilation (based on 108 songs that I have listened to no more than 3 times (apart from one) – so there will be obvious glaring omissions and like every other one I have done, very singles heavy and I left out Stereo as JC featured it about three weeks ago)

Side One

‘Texas Never Whispers’ – from Watery Domestic EP

The swirly organ type instrument at the start of the track doesn’t sound like Pavement it sounds very 70s and a bit psychedelic. In fact it sounds like elephants charging. Weirdly this was sampled by Placebo much later on their Black Market Music album. I have an American friend who claims that Watery Domestic is the greatest EP ever released. It probably isn’t but it is excellent.

‘Cut Your Hair’ – From Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

One of the few Pavement tracks to cross over, largely because it’s a bit goofy and a whole load of fun. Although I would imagine that there is something underneath it that is a bit more sinister. This does get lost with absurdly catchy nature of the song – not only do you get ‘oo-oo-ooo’s’ but you get that riff that showed that if they had to, they could make massive pop records.

‘Range Life’

Any song that takes the piss out of the Stone Temple Pilots is alright with me. This is a song about selling out and about street cred. Pavement never caved into the demands of record labels when grunge went boom and suddenly a thousand American alt rock bands landed on these shores. They were and are a better band because of that.

‘AT&T’ – From Wowee Zowee

I included this because I think half way through this Steve Malkmus the singer in Pavement manages to squeeze the word ‘gravy’ into it. I thought that this was impressive and kind of sums up Pavement to me. It’s also a brilliant song.

‘Gold Soundz’ – From Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

This has a retro feel to and is one of my favourite Pavement songs. One of the few I already owned in fact. This is indeed golden and once I heard this song I was hooked. In a perfect world, this record would be played on ALL radio stations at least twice a day.

Side Two

‘Summer Babe’ – From Slanted and Enchanted

One of S-WC’s favourite songs of all time, and it is easy to see why. He said, if I left this out he would never ever speak to me again. It was tempting to be honest (I’m kidding.).  Summer Babe is hopelessly romantic in an indirect way, I love the way there are sideways nods to Ice Ice Baby and the way that the lyrics are kind of drawn out to you, all ‘Shiny robes’ and ‘plastic tipped cigars’. Yet there is the ‘Waiting, waiting waiting’ bit that shows underneath it all it’s still a love song for slackers in lumberjacks shirts.

‘Here’ – From Slanted and Enchanted

Of all the songs, I listened to, that I hadn’t heard before, this was the best and is now probably my favourite Pavement song. Depending on what you think of Pavement and their undoubted legacy, this song stands out above and beyond any other song by them. It is them at their most poignant and vulnerable but still has the normal nudge of humour. “Come join us in a prayer / We’ll be waiting, waiting there / Everything’s ending here,” sings Malkmus in a world-weary whisper. It’s a touching moment and one that shows that despite the irony – there is genius beneath it. I played this song four times in a row after hearing it.

‘We Dance’ – From Wowe Zowee’

We Dance is not an ambitious song, but it is very enigmatic and I think one of the boldest that they have recorded. On the back of ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain’ Pavement should have returned as megastars in waiting – yet they returned with Wowee Zowee and ‘We Dance’ set the tone for this – almost like a test for fans, ‘if you like us, you will stay with us’.

‘Box Elder, MO’

Box Elder was originally on the band’s debut EP Slay Tracks but I only have it on the Best of Album Quarantine the Past. But it was a statement of intent even then. It showed the gifts that Malkmus had as a songwriter. It showed the band would sing about sentimental things but from a sceptical point of view and that they knew how to grab your attention with a killer tune.

Trigger Cut

“Trigger Cut” is Pavement as their best, lyrically it is refreshingly bizarre, I have no idea what “Lies and betrayals / Fruit-covered nails / Electricity and lust” refers to, but I imagine it would be fun trying to find out.

So there we go. Pavement are ace. I showed S-WC and asked if he would make any changes, he said Embassy Row would be included in his ten – that song was genuinely cut at the last-minute for ‘Range Life’ (and I cut Fight This Generation for ‘Box Elder’). S-WC was right of course, it was really difficult to whittle down to ten tracks. Bloody good fun trying though.

The 11th track game is good fun. It’s really simple, pop your iPod on, when it gets to track 11, stop it, take a photo of the screen, and base your compilation on that band. Whoever it is.

Tim B

mp3 : Pavement – Texas Never Whispers
mp3 : Pavement – Cut Your Hair
mp3 : Pavement – Range Life
mp3 : Pavement – AT & T
mp3 : Pavement – Gold Soundz
mp3 : Pavement – Summer Babe
mp3 : Pavement – Here
mp3 : Pavement – We Dance
mp3 : Pavement – Box Elder
mp3 : Pavement – Trigger Cut

JC adds…….

Since Tim is such a ‘newie’ to so many of the Pavement songs and he’s done such a terrific job in the circumstances, I thought I’d add a couple of excellent covers:

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Box Elder
mp3 : Tindersticks – Here

and round it all off with a very different version of Tim’s favourite:-

mp3 : Pavement – Here (Peel Session)

Enjoy.

10 thoughts on “AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #38 : PAVEMENT

  1. Indeed I am, CC!!! Whilst reading the post I thought to myself “Please please please don’t let ‘Box Elder’ be the 109th song!!”, luckily this turned out not to be the case ….

  2. Excellent choices. Although I agree with including ‘Embassy Row’. So I tried this 11th song thing today during my run around the streets of Worksop. I got Basement Jaxx. I’ll write it tomorrow JC.

  3. I look forward to that Lucy….I’m a fan of that lot. But no rush to get it over as I won’t be able to do anything with it till October as I’m away on holiday for the next 10 days,,,,

  4. Great compilation – i’d have ‘zurich is stained’ and ‘gold sounds’ on my list but not sure what i’d lose…

    I saw them a fair few times from their slanted and enchanted days when the drummer gave out toast to the audience before they played – to seeing them support sonic youth which was incredible – to being at their final show (first time round) at brixton academy where half way through they told the audience it would be their last ever show – they ignored the setlist and just played their favourites finishing up with a fantastic version of ‘here’.

  5. Really love the familiarity TnVV’s followers/participants seem to have with an indie California band that was critically adored and popularly ignored when they were around. I have a soft spot for Pavement because I moved to California in 1991, just around the time they were starting to make a name. They were a soundtrack to my first decade out here. As such, I could never narrow down 40 songs, let alone 10, so I applaud this imaginary compilation as one of the best of the whole series, which is really saying something. Nice one, Tim!

  6. These imaginary compilation albums just keep getting better and better (loving the Jam singles series too!) I heard The Wedding Present version of ‘Box Elder’ before I’d ever even heard of Pavement, then got the original version on the ‘Westing…’ compilation and quickly became obsessed with all things Pavement, eventually tracking down the original ‘Slay Tracks’ 7″ for an exorbitant sum a few years later. The First time I saw them (supporting Sonic Youth in ’92 at the Hummingbird in Birmingham), Gary Young (‘insane’ drummer) was handing out random jigsaw pieces (mostly sky) on the door of the venue! I still have my piece! The 11th track on the ipod to inspire a compilation is a great idea… let’s see…mine is… (waits for 10 songs to finish playing on shuffle)… The Ramones!

  7. Thanks for all the lovely comments. Glad everyone enjoyed the selection. Lee you need to write that Ramones one.

  8. Okay… probably a it obvious, but… from the first 3 albums:
    Blitzkrieg Bop
    Beat On The Brat
    53rd & 3rd

    Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment
    Pinhead
    California Sun

    Rockaway Beach
    Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
    We’re A Happy Family
    Teenage Lobotomy

    Bonus Track
    I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend

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