On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Pavement – Cut Your Hair (1994)
” Cut Your Hair” is a song by American rock band Pavement from their second album, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. It was written by Pavement songwriter and lead singer Stephen Malkmus.
We’re leaving the UK, dear reader, and making our way back to the US and to California. Formed in 1989, Pavement kept their heads below the limelight, building a cult following and even avoiding brushes with the press and live shows while they became more established. We join them in 1994 with the release of their second album – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain – and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track, Cut Your Hair.
Cut Your Hair launches a direct attack on the importance of image and appearance in the music industry. I recall the late George Michael once lamenting the same issue, that a person’s appearance matters more than their sound, and with that truth the music is lost. Pavement take a snarky approach in their song, puzzled at the importance of image and minutiae such as one’s hair. The artist is lost somewhere in the world of commerce with musicians being mere products for sale to the highest bidder and money superseding all other considerations, most of all the simple love of making music.
Cut Your Hair sounds like a fairly standard, albeit catchy, indie music number but beneath its energy is a sardonic stab at the music industry. The song would prove to be the group’s biggest hit and the closest they came to mainstream success. The big time eluded them but Pavement retained a loyal cult following until they disbanded in 1999. A reunion tour in 2010 was very popular and there are rumours of further shows to come.
Favourite songs so far: