Listening on repeat: Pavement “Slanted and Enchanted”

Music is something that over the past couple years has become increasingly important to me.  I spend a large chunk of my time getting CDs, importing them, and then eventually listening to them as I go about my daily life.  I figure that music listening is a big enough factor in my life that it warrants more blog posts than just my end of the year top-ten lists.  So under the tentative name of “Listening on repeat”, I’ve decided to start up what will hopefully be a weekly column, but it is hard to guess how often I will actually get around to writing it.  The plan is that each week I will write about an album that I have been listening to a lot over the previous week, both old and new music, and then hopefully include a mP3 or two of my favorite tracks from the album.  The inaugural album selection for this column is an oldie that I hadn’t discovered until relatively recently.

s and e

Originally released in 1992, I didn’t hear the album or even hear of Pavement until late 2008 when I saw it ranked as the #5 albums of the 1990s on a Pitchfork Media list (if you want to see the four albums ranked ahead of it, check out this link  The first time I listened to the album I was riding the 358 bus to the 44 stop and then on to the U-district TJs.  I remember liking a couple of the songs and thinking the album was OK, so I listened once or twice more and then forgot about Pavement.

It is really amazing how much music distribution has changed since 1992.  Seventeen years ago if you wanted a copy of an album like Slanted and Enchanted you would have to go to a record store in a large city and hope that they had a copy.  Nowadays you can stream music all over the internet on various blogs,  watch music videos on YouTube, buy it from the Apple Music Store, or just import a copy from your friendly local library (although I guess they had libraries in ’92 as well…).  So while Pavement never achieved much commercial success in the 90s (I never once remember them being played on 107.7 The End growing up), over the ensuing years they achieved a significant fan base.  About a week ago it was announced that Pavement would reunite for a show (later changed to an entire tour) in late 2010, which resulted in a lot of excitement both on and KEXP, my two main sources of music information.  Because there was so much hoopla about them, I figured I had better give Pavement another listen.  I don’t know what had changed in the interim year, although I know my music taste has been widely expanded during that time, but this time Slanted and Enchanted really lit me up.  I found myself walking to work and home from work listening to Pavement and playing air guitar, air drums, and whatever air instruments I could get my hands on.

I’m pretty sure there are only two people who read my blog at the moment, and neither of you may like this album (too upbeat for Amy, some of the songs are too angry for Mayme) but I picked a couple of songs from the album that you may both like.

(Note: I haven’t figured out how to directly insert mP3 files into my blog yet, so in the meantime you can listen to the songs through these youtube links)

“Zurich is Stained”-Only a minute and forty seconds long, but my favorite song from the album.  I keep finding myself singing “You think it’s easy, but you’re wrong”
“Summer Babe (Winter Version)”-There are a number of other good songs I could have chosen, but this one felt right.



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