My Top 1000 Songs #354: Frontwards

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

The opening cut from Pavement's concise, not-a-wasted-note 1992 Watery, Domestic EP is nothing flashy. It cuts right in with some compelling distorted guitars and rumbling bass, then goes all quiet and gives Stephen Malkmus the room to toss out a few lines that feel cryptic and profound and definitive Pavement. The opening couplet has been rolling around in my head for 30 years: "I am the only one, searching for you. And if I get caught, then the search is through." Dunno why, that's just stuck with me. And then you get the line every rock star dreams that they'd written: "I've got styles, miles and miles. So much style that it's wasted." Braggadocio or deadpan slacker irony, who cares? You just wanna go and scribble it on every notebook in the joint.

Like the rest of the 4-track between-LP intermission, "Frontwards" doesn't outstay its welcome--just lays down the groove and moves right along. For me, the aptly-titled tune was thrilling confirmation that the life-changing debut from earlier in the year, Slanted & Enchanted, wasn't just a novelty one-off that simply happened to hit me at exactly the right moment in my life; this was a band that would be part of my musical fiber for years to come.

Live 1992:
Opening a 2022 reunion tour gig: