Endless Loop: In The Mouth A Desert

pavementHave you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“In the Mouth a Desert” by Pavement

If I were forced to pick my absolute favorite personality from the early 90’s alt-rock boom, nine times out of ten, I would probably go with Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus. The sardonic front man certainly had a way with words throughout Pavement’s five-LP run and his own solo efforts, a sharp wit and an often bitingly sarcastic tone poking fun at just how ridiculous it all is. And anyone who could and continues to inspire that much ire from a ghoul like Billy Corgan with one throwaway line in a song over two decades old now is deserving of adulation and applause.

But before all of that was his debut, Pavement’s 1992 album Slanted and Enchanted, and the wonderful song “In the Mouth a Desert.” The song has always felt like a kind of abstract testament to the music scenes of the time, a sneering, jabbing distaste for the mainstream, or maybe even towards some of his own underground peers. The de-tuned, yet dark and melodic tone of it casts long shadows over everything, a glaring critique from an artist who’s probably smarter than everybody else. Or it could be about abstaining from reconciliation after a quarrel with a lover. Or it could just be an ode to societal and cultural malaise in general. Or maybe it’s about how awful Billy Corgan is. It’s not that last one, but it sure would make me laugh if it were.

Pavement never really sold a lot of records or broke into the cultural lexicon the way some other bands did, but their influence is inescapable. They were one of those groups that inspired other people to make music, myself included, every one of us striving to make something as good as “In the Mouth a Desert.”

But failing miserably.

“It’s what I want.”


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

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