This weekend was for hero worship. I saw the "classic line up" of Guided by Voices. Did they play "Kicker of Elves?"
But they did play this.
Not all Guided by Voices songs are about elf kicking. Something that has always irked me in critical treatment of the band is the focus on Pollard lyrics as some sort of fantastical theatre. When you name songs "Postal Blowfish" or "Zoo Pie," you can see this trend forming. There is even a GBV Song Title Generator. This is where poet Tony Tost found the title for his long poem, World Jelly. But this fantasy treatment has always been reductive. Look at the song Tractor Rape Chain, which at first glance looks ridiculous by title alone. But then there are the words
why is it every time i think about you
something that you have said or implied makes
me doubt you
then i look into your cynical eyes and i know it
as if it never meant anything to me
parallel lines on a slow decline - tractor rape chain
better yet, let's all get wet on the tractor rape chain
speed up, slow down, go all around in the end
in the first place it's probably just paranoia
but there's a ghost in my room
and he says i better run
it's a thing i know - it's a thing i believe in
won't you tell it to go away?
With my valuable hunting knife
She will shine like a new girl
And I want to shout out our love to the world
Everything I think about I think about
Everything I talk about I talk about
But you don't know what I go through
You don't know
But my valuable hunting knife
It will not rust through the tears
And it will not lose its appeal over years
Sometimes it is just for the music. But GBV's best songs - Teenage FBI, Game of Pricks, Smothered in Hugs, The Official Ironman Rally Song, Don't Stop Now, Blimps Go 90, Exit Flagger, Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory - wear their self conscious loneliness for anyone to see. It is what I will always remember them for.