Thursday, July 26, 2007

Transport Is Arranged

Brighten the Corners was the beginning of the end to the Pavement we all loved. Members were getting married and moving to exotic locales like Louisville and Idaho. The mid-tempo jams that were hinted at on Wowee Zowee were further developed on this album with "Transport Is Arranged" as a prime example.

It would not do justice to SM's stream of consciousness monologue to dissect it word-for-word, but the tone of the message can be interpreted. (Of course, any interpretation will be put through numerous criticisms, but isn't that what blogging is about?)

The song's lyrics, in tone if not in cryptic meaning, expressed Malkmus' uncomfortableness with the direction of the band and its members. Although the lyrics are not as literal as the tracks "Old to Begin" or "Fin", the feeling of discomfort with maturity is clearly expressed. SM is trying to get out of this predetermined maze that is adulthood which has claimed his band mates, but, in the end, he can't run away and leave it all behind. Even the escape is methodically calculated or arranged.

The song means a lot more to me now as a thirty-two-year-old than it did in my senior year of college. The pressures of home-ownership (moving this weekend) and impending parenthood (babies all around!) are revealing the plan for my life that I did not intend when I was 18, 21, or even throughout my 20's. There's something unnerving about fate, especially when it involves responsibility and maturity.


Raymond Cummings said...

Interesting. I never really tried to translate any of the lyrics to “Transport is Arranged” or other songs on the record – the whole struck me as sausage-link-strings of half-hearted non-sequiters, though the mood overall had a sort of mellow vibe. I didn’t like Brighten the Corners at all initially; when it dropped I was 20 or around there, and the lack of grit/forward-motion was shocking after the crazed, careening whatever wonderment of Wowee Zowee (which I maintain is the best thing they ever did, besides Watery Domestic). But, you know, maybe we just needed to hit the at age they were at when the songs were written to “get it” – and now I can feel BtC a helluva lot more than Terror Twilight, which contains a handful of songs that have retained serious personal resonance since the first time I heard them (i.e. “Platform Blues,” “Folk Jam”).

Please, please write about “Nigel” at some point! Hopefully if BtC ever gets reissued the boyz’ll slap that sucker on the bonus disc. I had a live mp3 of it aeons ago, it never saw release anywhere.

comoprozac said...

This album had a bigger place in my heart due to a rough break-up and post-collegiate anxiousness, but it is no WZ.
I've only read about "Nigel", but my bet is that it'll show up on the BtC re-issue. Then, I'll be sure to put my two cents down.

Jason S. said...

Hey - just wanted to let you know that Chrome Canyons is defunct. The Wilco Oveure Blog is now operating out of Could you update your link?

Raymond Cummings said...

Cool (w/r/t "Nigel").

Did BtC help you through, or was it just sort of part of your life at that point?

Personaly, I can't remember anything especially specific that was going on in my life when BTC came out. Drawing a total blank.

Speaking of WZ, you ever heard Blitzen Trapper?

comoprozac said...

I don't think so. Was it on an import or 7"?

Raymond Cummings said...

blitzen trapper's a band, their new one reminds me of WZ in a good way.

comoprozac said...

Ahhhh...I've got you. Thanks for the tip. I'll check them out.