“‘Baltimore’ is Great, But is it the Last Trick in the Bag for Stephen Malkmus?”

In a way, he’s just another cosmic, “crazy” “genius.”

As with Pearl Jam, the style came before the substance. It’s the kind of thing that’s disarming — these guys aren’t just your friendly lads next door, their creative arc is something measured and fragmented, auctioned off into different minute steps which feed the whole. A select few songs define them — “Faithfull,” “Off He Goes,” “AT&T,” “Transport is Arranged” — but these songs are towering, all-informing rock scripture, and the artists feed off of the sound of their own voice.
Josh Homme as well, comes to mind as the artistic rocker capable of such overarching supremacy, with songs like “Someone’s in the Wolf” and “Song for the Dead,” the former of which comes on their followup to success and every bit rivals it.
And yeah, I know, it’s stupid to say one song “rivals” another — it’s like saying the story of Job “rivals” the story of Moses. But the fact is, human beings can’t handle the truth. 70-some people are dead at an Eagles show in Paris, and it’s been eons since Homme’s even done anything meaningful. Time to play dumb? Yup, ok.
Just ask Lennon, don’t make your art too galvanizing or you won’t be around for long to enjoy it.
Lots of people hate Eddie Vedder, calling him an “egomaniac,” and I’ve never witnessed anyone wield such antipathy toward Stephen Malkmus, but still, is it possible that he just killed HIMSELF with the albeit memorable, cutting “Baltimore.” To my knowledge, and I’m about as big a Pavement fan as you’ll find, I cannot remember him ever doing this with his old band, or solo — barking out such strange vituperation against a divinely agitating catalyst. And maybe there’s such a thing as knowing these things TOO WELL, saying someone as “the energy of a classic creep,” and associating therewith the immediately timeless adage “Woe is the man with the cheshire cat grin.” I’ve never been one for reading this too far into things, but one review I recall of Yield called “All Those Yesterdays” by Pearl Jam an autodidact, asserting that Vedder’s addressing himself with all that profound life advice. Now this probably isn’t exactly the case with the Jicks singer and “Baltimore,” but the listener can’t help but wonder, especially in light of this luke warm Jicks album Wig out at Jagbags, if in emitting such a clear paean of insuperable human compunction, something has HAPPENED within the muse of Stephen Malkmus, and I have a feeling it has less to do with ignorance of ensuing artistic direction, and more to do with just knowing TOO much. Sometimes just being human is a full time job in and of itself.

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