Sunday, 2 December 2007



I think it was with “Cut Your Hair” that most people clicked with Pavement.  Those who said they were into them earlier/before these songs were just posers or uber enlightened.  To this day there are very few Pavement tracks that match up to this one.

It has always been a great thing to foist Pavement onto people.  Most just don’t get it and the latecomers tend to go for the less demanding material, the easier and not so thrilling filaments amongst such dirty gold.  This was when the band was still carefree and weird as their record sleeves really didn’t make much sense in the least.  “Cut Your Hair” is a wonderful thing, a high watermark of music and much defining of a transitional era.  They fucked up being famous, fucked up being famous and potentially fucked up being rich.  All of which didn’t matter once upon a time.

The song opens with irregular whoops that suggest some kind of weird optimism and playfulness in the face of so many serious expressions.  No band on Sub Pop ever sang like this and if they did they wouldn’t have got a real deal.  To sing in this manner suggests it is just a fucking lark to these guys.

Then things get serious as Malkmus questions “darling why’d you go and cut your hair?” in simpleton fashion.  Were these guys really like Forrest Gump?

Cut to the video and there they are, all lined up at the barbers to get a fresh do.  This was small town America from a bygone era.  Better times.  Times where they were allowed such frolic.  With this one by one they step up to the plate in most masculine fashions and attempt to tidy themselves up towards getting a major label record deal.  And do not let anyone tell you anything different.

Of course their efforts failed.  When Ibold sneezed seemingly out shot cats, Kannberg was actually a gorilla, Nastanovich tried to drink the barber’s oil, West possessed a toad’s head and most tellingly Malkmus wore a crown and considered himself a king while wearing a Luton Town FC shirt.  How could these people be taken seriously?  And people thought Gary Young was weird with “Plant Man”.

It is at the two minute mark that this song achieves perfection as they band peak at sonic heights with destructive noodles and Sonic Youth throes.  It slays in around it.  Then the whooping returns and this big bastard of a wonky pop song arrives at fruition and we all gain closure.

God bless MTV for once being good and actually showing this video.  Kids today will never have it so good.  They will have their Youtubes and their downloads but never the spontaneity of such a life changing moment as this video suddenly arriving on screen late at night and making the audience’s day (maybe even their week).

Originally released on Big Cat in the UK the single was backed up by “Camera” and “Stare”, the former of which is one of Malkmus’ almost whispered ventures that is royally wonky and seemingly saddled/laboured with regret.  Yes it comes with noodles, special fried nice.  Then he seems to break out in tears.  For somebody: soothing.  “Stare” in contrast feels played under water, a kind of aquatic auto erotic asphyxiation.  This was truly the land of the slack.  I really miss it.

This wipes the floor.

Thesaurus moment: trim.

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