100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #39 Pavement – Cut Your Hair

Released : 1994

Half the world was seemingly insulted by Mark E. Smith, a man who never suffered fools gladly, least of all when it came to dealing with members of his own band. On the passing resemblance of Pavement’s early output he was typically quotable, dismissing them in a 1993 interview with “It’s just The Fall in 1985, isn’t it? They haven’t got an original idea in their heads.”

Formed at the end of the 80’s during what proved to be a renaissance period for the American underground, the quintet’s music then bore as much of a resemblance to the shambling indie-droners The Vaselines or The Pastels (guitarist Scott Kannberg also cited The Replacements), but by 1994 their second album Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain they were attracting criticism from a higher calibre of celebrity in Beavis and Butthead, who playfully declared Cut Your Hair as ‘buttwipe music’.

Maybe this was a veiled response from MTV to the song’s contempt for it’s image grafting – elsewhere on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain Stone Temple Pilots and The Smashing Pumpkins were singled out as examples – but in spite (Or because of) this Cut Your Hair turned out to be the quintet’s closest brush with the mainstream. “Songs are bought and so are you” deadpanned Stephen Malkmus, dealing with the inevitable sell-out baggage that came with change, in the process trashing himself and his band mates harder than almost anybody else ever did.

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