The Shrine of Dig represents music that has made indelible impressions on our lives, both musically and personally. We plan to enshrine works and artists that stand out for any number of special reasons, from those glorious moments we first heard something captivating and new, through the continuous impacts of the music upon our lives. The induction ceremony involves multiple posts where we will both explore and pay tribute to the words and sounds which have been so important to us. In doing so, we share with you some music we believe is damn near infallible and absolutely worth listening to. View all
Pavement – Here
The Shrine of Dig represents music that has made indelible impressions on our lives, both musically and personally. We plan to enshrine works and artists that stand out for any number of special reasons, from those glorious moments we first heard something captivating and new, through the continuous impacts of the music upon our lives. The induction ceremony involves multiple posts where we will both explore and pay tribute to the words and sounds which have been so important to us. In doing so, we share with you some music we believe is damn near infallible and absolutely worth listening to.
Here is a tune that could be easily passed up as a simple song that makes no particular attempt to win the listener's attention. It sets a slow pulse and then never waivers from it. The range of the vocal melody is far from expansive, and the bands instrumental orchestration is straight forward, uninteruptive, and dynamically uninteresting. In addition, the harmonic structure is only comprised of three chords (A E & D) in duple meter, and the phrase length is four measures per chord with the exception of the post-chorus in which the first two chords in the progression are diminished to two measures per chord.
As a musician and a teacher I would boast of being able to teach anyone, regardless of musical fluency and experience, to play this song in under 30 minutes. I would not be lying or egotistical in this statement. It is a very simple song.
So why do I love it?
It might be that I can remember where I was the first time I heard its thematic use on the Luxe & Redux version of the album Slanted and Enchanted. I loved the idea of multiple recordings of one song across the course of the album, and I loved the kaleidoscopic re-envisioning of these utterly simple harmonies and rhythms. It might also be that I have very fond attached memories of my teen years to this song. Yet again, it might be that the songs simplicity is its greatest asset for repeat listening. Is this the perfect example of a mildly catchy pop song which I can half-heartedly listen to ad infinitum? Maybe.
Or maybe there is something deeper in my relationship with this composition that is indicative of my relationship with Pop music in general, while also making this song so meaningful to me.
I am a musician. I define myself this way because as long as I can remember remembering I have wanted nothing more in life than to make music, and that's pretty much all I do. I convinced my parents to get me music lessons by age seven and have had a daily practice routine for the past 18 years. I went to college at the Peabody Music Conservatory where in six years I earned three degrees. I am now a second year high school music teacher in Baltimore County where I spend the first half of my day sharing my training. After this, I spend the remainder of my time as a free lance musician, an advocate for music outreach with The Creative Access, and a music blogger with Those Who Dig. My training is as a classical guitarist and in that field my interests surround the avant-garde, extended technique, graphic notation, process music, and anything else esoteric and initially inaccessible. I find this music rewarding to work on, and I love it when my own performances make an audience confused and uncomfortable, but asking questions and looking for more.
When considering this article, and which Pavement song I would like to write on, there was no question in my mind that Here would be the one. I didn't know why initially, but further reflection has led me to the idea that the inherent simplicity of this song (and Pop music in general) is a place of respite for me. This is a sound and a setting where I can retreat. In Pop music everything is clear, simple, regular, and defined. Sure the lyrics to Here are adequately cryptic, and moderately existential and self-aware. Sure the guitar uses my favorite trick of weaving in and out of unison with the vocal melody. Sure the production value is warm and reassuring like bed sheets on Sunday morning, but there might just be something more under these covers all these years that I never realized until just now.
My own music making has always had me endeavoring for the latest unattainable plateau of technique, velocity, and musicality, but Pavement has given me a release valve in this song. As I write this, my left hand index knuckle aches and I know that Louis Andriessen and his composition Hout are directly responsible. Pavement has never caused me physical pain or repetitive stress injuries. Is this the reason why I love this song so much? "I guess a guess is the best I'll do." You Dig?