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I can't claim to be the biggest Mats fan, but there's just something about this record that is emotionally resonant with me like nothing else. Oddly enough, it took me a bit to find Let It Be, but the first song I heard of theirs was 'Left Of The Dial' when I was 11 or 12; I don't mean to throw this phrase around because I think a lot of people do, but it truly changed my life. It defined anemoia, before I even knew what that was. It's difficult to describe, but I always go back to this band (and this record specifically) because they just are such singular voice; it evokes something different in me. There's this persistent sense of longing that just never ceases to move me on a visceral level. I learned that music for me is not an intellectual pursuit. This is a band who's arc of maturity and emotional awareness can be clearly tracked; Westerberg just has so much heart, and I think Let It Be in context was by far the band's biggest swing. And for a group of midwestern guys who could've just as easily been written off as drunken frat boys to write a song as progressive and as truly empathetic as 'Androgynous' is incredibly touching to me. It captures the whole experience and all the emotions of the time in your life when you're feeling things the most. And to think that almost 30 years later, a teenaged version of myself can stumble upon a record like this, when he really needed it, speaks volumes about it's universality. The word that keeps popping into my head is 'important'; a very important record found at a very important time.(First added to this chart: 08/12/2017)
To preface the rest of this list, the sequencing of the albums beyond number 1 is is pretty arbitrary. This is my personal favorite from Miles'; I'm truly not an expert on jazz in any way, but I really don't think anyone comes close to Miles when it comes to fusion. It is so fucking intense, it goes back to this idea of music being something that moves you viscerally rather than intellectually. I'm not shitting on Zappa, but it's just so cerebral to me. I don't think anyone had what Miles had; he was smart enough to know that it wasn't a game of minds. He couldn't help but be what he was, no second guessing. I'm just in awe of this record.(First added to this chart: 08/12/2017)
I sort of defaulted to Sound Of Silver, but it truly could've been any of the 4. This is a band that truly added something to music that wasn't there previously; it's a colliding of two different worlds. Specific, thoughtful writing that doesn't call attention to itself within the framework of a relentless beat that 100% of people can move to. It's a really special thing.(First added to this chart: 08/12/2017)
I originally had crooked rain here but I decided to swap it out; i love slanted and enchanted too, of course, but song for song I have to give it to wowee zowee. It took me a while to realize, but this is my favorite version of pavement. So loose, so weird. I just love the whole trajectory of where they were at, it's kinda perfect. They make their big splash debut, then they do their ironic classic rock record, but then what? Malkmus, stoned, tries writing pop songs and they end up with this perfect mess of a record that's all over the place and somehow the most Pavement-y of them all. I really think this is the one that cemented their legacy; it would've been easy for them to make something more accessible, and it would've been a big success. But they didn't. Instead of going for the layup, they go for the confusing 3 that in retrospect actually adds up a lot more than people thought.
It's an acquired taste, certainly. The person who showed me the Royal Trux was the first person who told me I should watch The Long Goodbye. She was a 'cool' person, the kind I'd never crossed paths with before as a 16 year old. 'Let's Get Lost' was what I heard first, and Cats & Dogs became my favorite record of theirs. I think it's the best representation of what they did stylistically. What's great about this band is that they give you the impression that the wheels could come off at any second - the line between that being empirical truth or merely an abstraction created by the band as part of their aesthetic and greater musical vision is very blurry, as both were known to have crippling heroin addictions. There kind of a polarizing band, it either speaks to you or it doesn't I guess.(First added to this chart: 01/28/2018)
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