Thursday, October 25, 2018
Pavement - Wowee Zowee LP
Domino (2010, Reissue)
There are a few reasons I bought this Pavement reissue. One is it is one of my favorite albums of all time. Two is because the version I already had was the original pressing on Big Cat and the vinyl was just so damn thin and flimsy (I don't know why I have the Big Cat version and not the Matador version - though I had the CD originally and picked up the vinyl at some point later on). And three, I really just wanted to write about it on this site, and buying a new version is a good excuse to do that. I can say that this 180 gram reissue sounds incredible, better than my original copy. Though that’s not really why this record means so much to me.
Simply stated, Wowee Zowee is one of the most important records of my life. It came out at the absolute perfect moment for me to be super impactful and I've just been obsessed with it forever. I know that Crooked Rain and Slanted & Enchanted were bigger for a lot of folks and I also am aware that as the years have gone by Wowee Zowee has finally started getting the praise it so richly deserves, but for me it's always just been my favorite Pavement album.
Wowee Zowee was the first Pavement record I ever heard. My friend Scott played it for me when it came out our senior year in high school. I don't actually know where Scott heard of them. Of my high school friends he didn't seek out music in quite the same way some of the rest of us did, but he definitely brought this to the table and I will always be indebted to him for doing so. Right away I was taken by the the fast, noisy songs. "Flux = Rad" (still my favorite Pavement song), "Best Friends Arm" and "Serpentine Pad" immediately scratched the itch I had at the time for loud raucous tunes. But as time went by, the slower songs and the variety of the album just started to consume me.
The first one to hit was "We Dance." Something about that song just started to dig its claws into me. It's the perfect album opener and my high school group of friends were so into the idea of somehow trying to have it made into the senior prom song. Didn't happen, I grew up in the northwestern, rural part of NJ, so of course it ended up being a Garth Brooks song. But I still think of that every time I hear the song. As the years went by new songs would assert themselves as being incredibly important. "AT&T" became a mixtape anthem. "Rattled By The Rush" turned into that song that I just couldn't figure out why it wasn't a huge hit single. "Fight This Generation" was the one that I blasted in my car when I was feeling a bit riled up. And way later in the story I figured out that "Grounded" was probably one of the most beautiful and incredible songs ever written.
This is an album that has been with me forever, but the sheer audacity of the different sounds that Pavement crammed into it means I'm always discovering something new and exciting, even twenty three years later. It's the perfect album to put on when I'm feeling stressed out or overwhelmed. It's instantly familiar and instantly soothing. It makes me nostalgic for some things, but never makes me dwell on the past since I've never stopped listening to it. It's been a constant in my life and something I've always been able to count on. No matter how fucked up the world gets, Pavement still released Wowee Zowee and it's just perfect.
Pavement - Wowee Zowee (Youtube Playlist):