My iPod #476: Pavement – Grounded

“Grounded” is a Pavement song that can be found on the band’s third album Wowee Zowee, released in 1995. The album is loved many a fan of the band due to its complete randomness ranging from structured, melodic and accessible tracks such as this one to the bizarre, humourous, on the spot takes like “Brinx Job” for example. There are many reasons why it’s considered to be the band’s “White Album”.

“Grounded” is track five on Wowee Zowee after the silliness in “Brinx Job”, and after a slow count-in by Stephen Malkmus comes a beautiful twinkling guitar riff that makes use of only three notes but combined with Mark Ibold’s simple descending bass line (which interestingly doesn’t change one bit during the whole song) and Steve West’s drums makes for the most comforting and mellow musical moments on the whole album.

One thing that Stephen Malkmus tends to do is sing the same melody as a guitar pattern that repeats during a section of a song. Listen to “Unfair” or “Rattled by the Rush“. Well, there’s another instance of this occasion. This time during the verses where he sings in unison with the Drop-D tuned guitar. These then increase in intensity climaxing in the track’s climactic instrumental refrain, which slowly climbs up and up before falling face-first with an emphatic crash. These are all repeated once more, and the opening riff arrives again – this time faster and accompanied by the rest of the band – to close the song out for the last minute.

Love this song. One of their best. And one about doctors too if that does anything for you. An underrated indie anthem.

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Author: Jamie Kyei Manteaw

An English student at Coventry University who spends most days listening to music (old and new) and reading and writing about it, however informal it may be. And studying too, obviously.

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