I owe a great deal of my appreciation for Pavement to Violet. Never let it be said that close proximity to someone does not bring you a closer understanding of those things they hold closest to their hearts - I "liked" Pavement before I knew her, but she loves the guys, so it rubbed off significantly from that direction as well. It's also been fun to see that we've come at the question from opposite angles: she's never been to California, so she doesn't really "get" the atmosphere quite the way a native does. But on the other hand, she actually saw Pavement, for realz, back when they were for realz. So I guess she's got me there.
With that in mind, I wrote up a brief blurb for the reissue of Reckoning on Popmatters' best of the year list, you can check it out here if you scan down. I'm happy with how that came out considering spatial limitations: as Martin Brown has pointed out to me in as many words, writing long and windy is easy, writing short and pithy is hard. So I'm not as satisfied with the blurb I did for Yo La Tengo's Popular Songs on their best albums list - I was going for pithy but ended up punchy. Can't win 'em all.
I also contributed some writing to the Factual Opinion's critic's poll on the best singles of 09 - scan down for my words on Dan Deacon and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but stick around for the other bits of good writing as well by people who are not me. I am honored to have been invited to participate. These kinds of lists are always a little bit weird for me because it's slightly disconcerting to see where one's own tastes stack up next to supposed peers. Musical taste is particular and individual, and it's sometimes hard not to judge people harshly based on their inability to measure up to your own standards of decency. In other words, anyone who voted for that Lady Gaga song is officially off my Christmas list - Jeez-o, people,I actually like Gaga, but "Bad Romance" sounds like a trip to the dentist. Is she singing on anesthesia with a spit vacuum between her teeth? If you don't agree with me exactly on everything, especially this, you're just not a good person, and you are dead to me.