28 Sep 2015

The top 5 Pavement songs

Pavement defined a decade of messy haired indie college rock, with their tight playing, catchy melodies, and of course, the masterful wit and poetry of Stephen Malkmus. For many people they were just one of the most important bands of their youth, and a lot of the lyrics resonate today, whilst lots of the playing still sounds sleek and very modern. I thought I'd put together my favourite 5 tracks by one of the most legendary indie rock bands for all to see, so have a read of the Top 5 Pavement tracks.

5. Conduit For Sale (off Slanted and Enchanted)
Ranting and rambling, this is the song that some people cite as them ripping The Fall of the most... maybe they have a point, but it's pure ranting poetry, and maybe the best album track on their debut. Tentative guitar trembles give way for Malkmus' barbaric battle cry of I'M TRYING I''M TRYING, showcasing the band at their most raucous and rough and just plain ANGRY. Even Mark E Smith would be proud of the rambling sonnetry, and it's just a brilliant track you can't ignore on the album.

4. Major Leagues (EP title track)
We've seen the California band at their most angry, and this is them at their most resigned, and most sad. Dreamy melodies are backed up by forlorn lyrics like 'wet sand on moderate clay, relationships hey hey hey'. This was their last single/EP, and maybe a really apt goodbye; the lyrics don't entirely chart that, but the general mood is there; again, this song is just notable for the pure poetry of Stephen & the gang.

3. Unseen Power of the Picket Fence (Shady Lane b-side)
Pavement are just so happy to role out the indie rock diss tracks, which in an ultra conservative lets-just-sing-about-getting-fucked-up-then-getting-fucked attitude led scene is just really fucking cool. here they lay into REM, and it's just glorious scuzzy fuzzy indie rock angst hitting you in the fact gloriously.

2. Filmore Jive (off Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain)
OK, ok, so listen to THIS live version of this windy windy masterpiece. It's one of Pavement's most ambitious songs almost at seven minutes in the studio, and topping 10 in some live environments. the last track off of what is PROBABLY, of all their masterpieces, considered Pavement's magnum opus, Crooked Rain. The guitar work here is absolutely killer, and it's been pastiched again and again with it's killer dynamics; as recently as last month FIDLAR were closing their Too album with a song that did exactly the same, and gosh it was just flawless.

1. Range Life
THE ULTIMATE WHITE INDIE BOY DISS TRACK, this is a ramshackle jangle-pop odyssey that just starts off with Malkmus taking a pop at the whole touring lifestyle, before escalating in a kinda slacker carefree manner to him just taking a rightful pop at the Smashing Pumpkins (who he 'really couldn't give a fuck' about) and Stone Temple Pilots ('elegant bachelors'). In response Billy Corgan said something back at Pavement along the lines of 'Pavement suck, who wakes up with a Pavement tune in their head?' WELL BILLY I DO. And so does anyone that's ever heard Cut Your Hair or Shady Lane. In fact, almost all of Pavement's back catalogue is something that you can sing back. It's all much catchier than anything on The Smashing Pumpkins' 3 hour long angst-grunge albums anyway. But the point is, this is a steadfast classic by one of the greatest alternative rock bands of all time.

further listening!
Summer Babe - flawless slacker pop that is just the ultimate lazy love song
All My Friends - sadly not an LCD Soundsystem cover, it's a proper college-rock hidden gem
Elevate Me Later - musical euphoria to help crack open the beast that is Crooked Rain...
Shady Lane - another indie pop gem that climaxes with the cries of 'oh my god, oh your god, ETC'
Frontwards - early EP track with a really great feel good momentum
Same Way of Saying - Guided by Voices style lo-fi with typically poetic lyrics

[ written by calum cashin ]