Monday, Jan. 13, 2014

Stephen Malkmus Wrote a Song about Brandon Jennings

By Evan Rytlewski
stephen malkmus brandon jennings
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Stephen Malkmus has a new album out, Wig Out At Jagbags, and it's a lighthearted, often sleepwalky ride that reinforces every popular opinion about the former Pavement frontman's solo career. It's the kind of album that feels like it should come with free nachos you can munch on when you listen to it, but not fancy nachos or anything—the kind with just chips and melted cheese.

There are occasional bursts of life on the record, though, and one of them is "Chartjunk," a swinging, Cars-esque romp with the record's best groove. As it turns out, Malkmus wrote the track about former Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings.

He explained his inspiration in an interview with CBC Music:

This tune is inspired by the NBA and a specific player, Brandon Jennings. He’s a prima donna point guard. He went to Italy young, he didn’t go to college, he just went straight to European league and then he came back and he’s a real hot dog gunner. He had a relationship with a specific coach, his name is Scott Skiles, he’s a very bossy, my-way-or-the-highway-type coach. They butted horns. Skiles was also an ex-NBA player, and he was saying, ‘I’ve been there, I know what you’ve been doing, and I can tell you,’ and Jennings was like, ‘You’re not my mother, I’ve got a contract and I don’t need you to tell me what to do. I’m my own man.’ This all happens over a Chicago Transit Authority, ham and eggs, rock ’n’ roll song, complete with Chicago-style horns and sort of “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”-song, which might be a Canadian band, Bachman-Turner Overdrive-style singing…You can make this metaphorical about anything. There must be some Freudian angle or early Greek — Odyssey, Icharus, something going on there. But on the second verse it gets specifically into things like dropping dimes and dipsy doos and the D-League in Wichita, which is a minor league basketball league, so that’s pretty specific. I can’t really get away with that.

Add this to the growing dossier of evidence that sports are the only thing that really fires Malkmus up anymore.
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