Freeze The Saints – Stephen Malkmus

Finally! A Tuesday’s Top Tune that actually makes it to press on a Tuesday! Maybe I am getting the hang of this thing after all…
“Freeze The Saints” appears on Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus’ solo album Face The Truth. The song opens with its piano hook, a simple iteration of the major scale. Likewise, the most memorable line, “Help me languish here” is a simple arpeggiation of a major chord. The most simple, uncomplicated unit in music. Like the rest of the song, it is simple and carefully controlled; forgoing loud displays of passion and dissonance and allowing the beauty found in simplicity.
The lyrics have some value as well. I don’t want to parse “We meet again, riding our divisible bodies,” but the central line of the song sums up its tone well: “Help me languish here.” Richard Rodriguez recently did a very interesting episode of (that I will write about later this week), and one of the things that he mentioned was that the notion that happiness should be our ultimate personal ideal is a uniquely modern, and uniquely American invention. For much of human history, no doubt as a consequence of harsh living conditions and religion, the ultimate reward in life was peace, or grace. When viewed in this light, the narrator’s plea that the person that he loves stay with him and help him fade and grow weak becomes a statement of resignation, of resolve, of acceptance.
Or maybe I’m just reading too much into this.

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