My Top 1000 Songs #650: The Hook

[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.] 

In fairness, there are undoubtedly a good number of additional Pavement tracks I should be adding to this list (beyond the 8 previously posted) before I get to Stephen Malkmus' solo work. But I've got a fondness for "The Hook," off his 2001 self-titled solo debut. Pavement were pretty much THE definitive band for me in the 90s, a huge part of my life--as documented in a chapter of Jittery White Guy Music (yep, still there on Amazon if you need some light summer reading!)--so their dissolution at the end of the decade was a bittersweet capstone. And "The Hook" served as one of those classic going-solo tracks that helps remind you that life, indeed, goes on.

Lyrically, it's just some silliness about becoming king of the pirates, and if it's some sort of going-solo metaphor its particularly opaque--at least Peter Gabriel's post-Genesis "Solsbury Hill" threw us a few "walked right out of the machinery" bones--but it serves the same purpose. Your favorite band is no more, but the music carries on.

Plus, while the song title may be more obviously in line with the pirate motif, the double meaning can't be missed--after a lukewarm final Pavement album, and initiating a solo career that would often see Malkmus getting downright proggy and jammy with his guitars, this one's got a catchy, straightforward hook that reminds you the guy can craft a perfect little pop song if he sets his mind to it.

Live 2011:
The reissue of Pavement's Terror Twilight swan-song included a (very) rough, unfinished stab at the song (then titled "Be The Hook"), a glimpse at how it might have sounded as a band effort):
BTW, Pavement bandmate Spiral Stairs (Scott Kannberg) offered his own take on the band farewell song, "Whalebones," on the first Preston School of Industry LP:


  1. I had completely forgotten this track. Been way too long since I went back to this album. The lasting track for me on this one is Jenny and the Ess-Dog but listening to this now certainly has me grooving along with it. Don't be surprised if this ends up on my show sometime soon


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