Monday, July 26, 2010

In the Mouth a Desert

Why bother to enter into a relationship? It will just end. There will be sadness and heartache. Why even begin?

Such is the philosophy of "In a Mouth a Desert". Of course, looking back with those 20/20 goggles. one can't help but apply this song's message to the band itself. The band (we) always knew it wouldn't last. Stephen Malkmus was too good to be held back by the rest of his band mates.

Well, they did make it last. Pavement went on to record four more albums after Slanted and Enchanted and have now successfully sought out a reunion tour. For both, we are grateful.

Can you treat like an oil well?
When it's underground, out of sight?
And if the sight is just a whore sign,
Can it make enough sense to me?
Sometimes it's cool to get into a relationship as long as no one knows about it. Of course, the best part of being in a relationship is that everyone knows about it. So, is the relationship worth the investment just to hide it? Does this even make sense?

"In the Mouth a Desert" continues on with references to trust and commitment, using analogies of knots, twine, and faith. Of course, as any believer of entropy would attest, these relationships falter and unravel over time. In this track, the unraveling appears to be one-sided as one half (or even one-fifth) of the relationship has doubts that the other parts are equal to his.
I've been crowned the king of it and it's all that we have
So, wait to hear my words and they're diamond sharp
I can open it up and it's up and down
In the band's relationship, the "king of it" is Stephen Malkmus. His songs are what made Pavement possible and lasting. Sure, it was always a group effort, but without SM's vision of the "Pavement sound" and ability to create the oddest hooks, there would have been no Pavement. It was never an equal relationship.

Of course, these were SM's friends. And even from the beginning of the band's run, it was apparent SM would struggle with his loyalties versus his ambitions...
I've been down, the king of it and it's all that we have
I've been down and I could wait to hear the words
They're diamond sharp today
I always suspect that SM's friendships with the rest of Pavement is what kept them together for so long and possibly fueled the reunion. Malk didn't want to be the center of attention. He wanted his friends to be able to play the parts as he envisioned them. On the same token, the rest of the band could see their limitations and didn't want to hold SM back. The inequality happened as it became apparent the other four members didn't have the chops to take Pavement to another level, to Malk's level.

A lot happens after "In the Mouth...", but the words are prophetic, even if they weren't intended that way.


Thiago daLuz said...

I think that popularity for pavement is resurfacing in Arizona. I'm not sure what the occasion is, but people I never would've pegged for are turning it up!

Axel Foley said...

The line is "the king of id" not "the king of it".