Sunday, September 27, 2009
PAVEMENT FROM THE CHEAP SEATS
We're counting up the instants that we save...tired nation so depraved...from the cheap seats see us...wave to the camera. Okay, we know that Pavement are back together and planning a 2010 world reunion tour, which--according to the Pitchfork mojo wire--will include Central Park Summerstage in NYC on September 21, 2010-- one year from Monday. Scramble for tickets, cool kids.
Pavment hang loose. The darlings of 1990s indie rock and originators of the slack low-fi aesthetic replete with wheedling deadpan vocals from dazed and laconic Stephen Malkmus, Pavement always seemed on the verge of falling apart, an old Volvo drifting left and right and all over the road with the hubcaps falling off and chunks of engine dropping out and baloney-skin tires going wobbly wobbly and the axle--she don't look so good. If you ever wore a green shirt and believed "irony was the shackles of youth," Pavement were your unreal gods. Their look and sound launched a thousand ships.
Now, these slackers are middle-aged geezers playing on 1990s nostalgia--yes, there is such a thing, a hankering back to the golden days of the last decade, mostly by very young kids who didn't catch it the first time--and the stadiums of the heartland and the evil coasts will be full of kids and rock critics singing along and clutching their merch--"new" old T-shirts and posters and tote bags and lick-on tattoo decals. Sure, they did some nice songs and my favorites albums ("Slanted and Enchanted," and "Crooked Rain Crooked Rain") still bring me back to the nineties, all those years ago...and yes they were "inspired clowns" but maybe not as important as we might have wanted to believe back then in those heady days of the nineties. We stuck them on mixtapes and they fit beautifully in a greater context--"Summer Babe" was the perfect slack anthem to sandwich between two solid songs, its loopy slurring beat staggered like a kid who drank a whole lotta Jaeger, dude, and some PBR, and maybe a pot brownie--but it's been a while since I actually listened to an entire album of Pavement, and all those songs in a row suffer from their sameness. Let's face it. Just the way we laughed at the old dinosaur reunion tours, these kids are still tongue in cheek and ironic but now they're grown men, for chrissakes, and they aren't still wearing old Charlie Brown castoffs anymore, are they? After a while, didn't they have to turn off the stereo and make the bed? Go to work? Didn't they finally graduate and leave the dorm? And Stephen--did his voice finally break? Ha, just kidding. See, I'm also protected with this cloak of invisibility called irony, but I had you for a moment, didn't I? Pavement are timeless and live forever in an endless golden autumn like a mosquito in amber. Hey, nice sweater.