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Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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9 Responses

  1. Avatar JosephFM says:

    I was going to read it, but then I saw it was by Chuck Klosterman (and I am trying really hard not to give him a derisive and offensive nickname here, out of respect for the League’s rules), the embodiment of everything I hate in music journalism.

    Is it really good enough that I should try to read it anyway?Report

  2. Avatar Barry says:

    Don’t sweat Klosterman being the writer; it’s a good read, and Klosterman seems to approach SM with the right level of guarded respect. I also love the detail about Bob Nastanovich using fantasy trades as a means of getting in touch with Malkmus about unrelated matters.Report

  3. Avatar Aaron says:

    I enjoyed the article, even if I came away from it with the same impression of Malkmus that I’ve pretty much always had: smart, arrogant and kind of hard to warm to, but I have to say, I still think I’d like him. And of course, I still love Pavement.

    One thing the article discusses that has always frustrated me is the criticism that Pavement should have tried harder, and that their songs lack focus. For my part, one of the things I love about Pavement is how their songs tend to slouch in, moving back and forth and never really ending up at any sort of pop epiphany. I mean, if I wanted to hear immaculately tooled pop gems, there are a million places to find that. Pavement are rare in having a kind of engaging, free associative music that is still catchy.Report

    • Avatar Will in reply to Aaron says:

      I think that’s right, although Malkmus is lying when he says he could never write a chorus or whatever. But he was smart enough to be a little more selective in displaying his pop music chops, which keeps Pavement a lot more interesting than, say, Weezer.Report

      • Avatar carlos the dwarf in reply to Will says:

        When Weezer was actually “displaying their pop music chops”, they were creating far better music than anything Pavement ever made. Problem is that they stopped making anything worth listening to, pop or otherwise, since the mid-90s.Report

  4. Avatar Barry says:

    It’s pretty obvious that, if more of Pavement’s songs had adhered to a “verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus” structure, the appealingly shambolic vibe that was the band’s trademark would have been lost to a major extent. That said, some of their cleaner, more straightforward material (i.e., stuff off of “Brighten the Corners” and “Terror Twilight”) still works just fine. So I agree with Will: Malkmus could write a good chorus, etc. But too much of that would’ve meant sacrificing too much of the band’s essence.Report

    • Avatar Aaron in reply to Barry says:

      I agree with Will that Malkmus is (probably consciously) downplaying his chorus-writing ability. One of the things that gives the Beavises of the world the ability to say “I would like them if they’d just try harder!” is the fact that Malkmus could, in fact, write the kind of pop music that everyone seems to want — but then they’d be Weezer, and we wouldn’t be here. The appealing thing about Pavement is the fact that when you do discover a great chorus — I’m looking at you, “Stereo” — it’s such a satisfying moment.

      I’d also like to say that I think Malkmus has written some of the best melodies of the ’90s. How many times have I sung “Range Life” or “Here” or “Rattled by the Rush” in the shower? The thing that makes Pavement Pavement is the way a song like “Silent Kit” kind of wanders in and then almost effortlessly jells into an amazing song a minute into it. But that minute of intro is amazing, too!Report