#35 – “Pennsylvania” (1999)

State Songs

L.K.: I don’t like this song. It’s annoying. I can’t even get excited about it being our first state song because this song annoys me so much.

A.S.: See, I don’t understand what’s so annoying about it. It’s just this little (mostly) instrumental interlude; I like the violin too.  Pretty sure it’s the only tune on State Songs with a violin, so it adds some additional instrumental color to the album.
L.K.: It’s one of the only states that has a State Song that I’ve actually been to, so I guess I was just hoping it’d be… better? I enjoy most of the songs with lyrics on the album, but with the exception of “Illinois”, I kind of can’t stand the instrumentals. Something about the melody just drives me up a wall; I really wish I could be more insightful than that.
A.S.: It’s a pretty simple melody. For a (presumably) trained violinist like Mark Feldman, he probably sight read it for the recording. Although speaking of the violin, I only noticed the countermelody in the final repetition of the theme for the first time just now.
L.K.: This is such a short song too. And it’s just kind of the same thing over and over again.
A.S.: There’s that little atonal bridge.
L.K.: Usually I’d be up for dissonant-ish stuff, but not here. Again, I wish I had more justification for my opinion beyond “I just don’t like it”.
A.S.: Then I feel we can tag this post as another “disagreement”.
L.K.: There’s an earlier version of this song from a Hello EP! Have you ever heard it?
A.S.: Nope, I honestly haven’t heard anything from that EP.
L.K.: Apparently it has piano instead of violin.
A.S.: Hmmm…
L.K.: Since neither of us has heard it though, we can’t really comment on it.
A.S.: Aye. I will say, it’s ranked really highly on the wiki; I find it odd that fans ranked this little interlude above, what, 400 other songs?
L.K.: Yeah, that’s kind of… odd.
A.S.: I think there’s a serious Linnell bias among fans.
L.K.: It’s above “Protagonist”! And motherfuckin’ “TRIOPS”, come on man.
A.S.: Okay, well that doesn’t support the Linnell bias theory then.
L.K.: There is a total Linnell bias that materializes in the weirdest places sometimes though…
A.S.: Weirdest places?
L.K.: This song. That a minute-long instrumental would still be ranked above 2/3 of TMBG’s other output. It’s even above Illinois! WHAT THE HELL.
A.S.: That also doesn’t support the Linnell bias idea…
L.K.: (Busy being angry about “Nine Bowls Of Soup” being ranked above “How Now Dark Cloud?”)
A.S.: (Oh god.) Ranking things is just weird, lists are weird, why did I even bring it up.
L.K.: I don’t know. Because there’s not much to talk about otherwise?
A.S.: True.
L.K.: There really isn’t.
A.S.: Hey, let’s talk about the fucking badass funeral bells in that version of “Twisting” we posted yesterday since we neglected to bring it up then.
L.K.: Those were pretty awesome.
A.S.: I don’t know if I’ve ever heard another uptempo, new-wave, pop song with funeral bells interrupting it in the middle. I sort of wish those made it onto the studio recordings or that they’d keep them when playing live, because it’s such an incredible effect. And then the scream that follows it just seals the whole deal.
L.K.: Flans is a very good screamer, let it be said. (Usually, except for that one girly scream.)
A.S.: (That scream still rules.)
L.K.: (He is confident enough in his masculinity to both sing like a girl and scream like a girl.)
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Comments
3 Responses to “#35 – “Pennsylvania” (1999)”
  1. Lowell says:

    This is ranked above Protagonist? Protagonist is my favorite song from Join Us, which is their best album in a long time! I am now going to arrogantly believe that all TMBG fans that aren’t Lily, Adam or me are philistines.

  2. Katina says:

    I have Arkansas as a video, but when I uploaded to youtube it wouldn’t play for people in the US. 😦
    I’m that XxMorbidxButterflyxX girl (awful username, but I was 13).

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