The “Gold Soundz” of Pavement
Have you heard of this band Sidewalk?
They’re really underrated but nobody will realise that until after they break up and they’re about to reunite in a decade. And I still won’t really like them that much because I feel like I’m outside the cult of personality but I’ll read the interview Klosterman did with the front man anyway and find him mildly likeable and try to listen to a mixtape of their best songs a girl once made for me and I’ll recite the track names to a friend’s older brother to seem cool but I won’t know any of the lyrics because frankly I didn’t like them that much anyway even though I’ve seen that video like six thousand times where they dressed up like the Easter Bunny and shot muskets at each other.
I’ve got a confession to make here: I didn’t really get into Pavement until quite recently.
It was the buzz that surrounded their reunion that encouraged me to actively listen to and appreciate their music, but before that time I was only really familiar with “Cut Your Hair”. But, that said, I now really like Pavement. Their set was by far the most memorable from this year’s Golden Plains festival, and I truly believe that their greatest hits compilation is a must-have for any music lover.
However, as evidenced this quote from Jake Cleland, it can be quite difficult for people of our generation [that’s gen Y, as embarrassed as I may be to admit it] to really appreciate Pavement for who and what they were, simply because we were never exposed to them the first time around.
Magazines like the NME and Q like to make sweeping statments that label Pavement as one of the most infuential acts of the 90s. And these gestures are not undeserved – so many of today’s indie bands list Pavement among their influences and inspirations. But that is exactly where the problem lies. We grew up listening to Weezer. Weezer would certainly not exist in the same way if it weren’t for Pavement, but that doesn’t really matter to us.
In an early episode of Dancing About Architecture, a music criticism show that was broadcast for two seasons on C31 last year, Mia Timpano made a controversial comment about not being able to appreciate The Beatles, because she didn’t bother to listen to them until quite recently. Having already heard so many bands that had been influenced by the fab four, but who’d taken their sound, mixed it with other influences and developed it further, she was unable to see the genius in the original music. It’s a difficult position to consider, but if you think about it, this applies directly to young people and their appreciation of Pavement.
It’s almost as if we don’t need Pavement, because we already have everything that came afterwards. Why bother with “Cut Your Hair” when we’ve got Blur’s “Beetlebum”? The fact that they created and developed a trademark lo-fi sound is irrelevant now, as that sound has been appropriated by so many other bands that to us, it doesn’t seem even remotely original. How can you appreciate a band for being innovative and different if you’ve heard it all before? Without considering them in context, one is never going to truly be able to appreciate a band like Pavement.
Perhaps you could say that a truly great band should always sound great, no matter when you first listen to them. But that’s a rather subjective viewpoint, and an argument for another day.