Thursday, September 30, 2010

100 Favorite Albums: Guided By Voices – Bee Thousand


A week from this Saturday my wife and I are heading to Seattle to see Guided By Voices for the very first time – to celebrate the occasion I decided to revisit the first Guided By Voices album I ever heard: Bee Thousand.

Bee Thousand is a very special record. While each Guided By Voices album certainly has its merits (especially Alien Lanes) the band would never release an album of comparable quality. Its a bell to bell classic and the best album of the 90’s as I see it.

Bee Thousand is steeped in what frontman Robert Pollard calls “the four P’s of Rock” - pop, punk rock ,progressive rock, and psychedelia. I think of it as a collection of anthems like “Gold Star for Robot Boy”, “Echos Myron” and “Tractor Rape Chain” surrounded by experimental tone pieces. Pollard certainly has a gift for melody and a special creative energy – but I’m often taken back by the quality of his lyrics. To a casual observer they may seem like nonsense but as far as I’m concerned they are incredibly powerful and evocative. Take “Tractor Rape Chain” for example:

“Parallel lines on a slow decline – Tractor Rape Chain”

My favorite song on Bee Thousand will always be “Gold Star for Robot Boy”. In a saner world this would have been a top 10 single. Heres hoping they play it in Seattle on 10/09.

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