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(Credit: Tarina Westlund)

Music

Pavement release video for 'Harness Your Hopes'

@TylerGolsen

Thanks to the wacky world of Spotify algorithms, Pavement’s signature song has now no longer become ‘Cut Your Hair’ or ‘Range Life’ or anything from the group’s beloved debut Slanted and Enchanted. If you were to ask anyone under 30 to name a Pavement song, there’s a halfway decent chance that they’ll say “who is Pavement?”. But if they’re a little more musically inclined, they’ll probably say ‘Harness Your Hopes’.

Although Spotify’s algorithm is a strange and amorphous mass of formulas and pure guesswork, the idea is that the algorithm tries to reduce an artist’s style to a few factors and then focus on the factors that they share with other artists that you’ve listened to. If, say, you were listening to Dinosaur Jr. or Horsegirl without putting something else in the cue, Spotify will try to fill that gap with a song that sounds similar to what you’ve already been listening to. Of all of Pavement’s songs, ‘Harness Your Hopes’ seems to check the largest number of arbitrary boxes in the algorithm.

That makes the former B-side a strange post-mortem hit for Pavement. Originally, the song was a deep cut, only featured on the Terror Twilight-era single ‘Spit on a Stranger’ and 2008’s Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Edition, the expanded version of their fourth studio album. Even diehard Pavement fans probably wouldn’t have heard ‘Harness Your Hopes’ until a decade after it was recorded, and it took another decade for that particular song to take off thanks to the internet and the bizarre way streaming services plug-in songs to their complex calculations.

But here we are in 2021, where ‘Harness Your Hopes’ is Pavement’s new signature song. And hey, Pavement is back together for a reunion tour to celebrate their 30th anniversary. With a summer tour set to kick off in June, what better time to belatedly acknowledge a belatedly acknowledged hit song than with a brand new music video?

Starring Yellowjackets actress Sophie Thatcher as a fan trying to crack the unknowable entity that is Pavement, the video acts as a sort of mini-history lesson on the band and their videos. Thatcher wanders into the settings for videos like ‘Cut Your Hair’, ‘Carrot Rope’, and ‘Gold Soundz’ as she tries to find something that rhymes with Pavement, a reference to one of the lines in ‘Harness Your Hopes’.

It all plays like a solid introduction for the large number of listeners who are a generation or two removed from when Pavement were one of the most important bands in the world. Either too smart to play in a straightforward manner or too dumb to care (or perhaps both), Pavement are still a right of passage for indie kids, stoners, and alternative types who like their music a little more off-kilter. If you need a place to start, as many have done with ‘Harness Your Hopes’, the accompanying video now serves as a jumping-off point all its own.

Check out the new video for ‘Harness Your Hopes’ down below.