On “Cut-out Witch,” Robert Pollard sings, “[D]o you think she can change your life?” Now I don’t know who she is, but no one in the world has changed my life like Robert Pollard and the rest of the guys in Guided By Voices.
Guided By Voices has to be my favorite band. I have spent my days and nights listening to countless songs. I have spent hundreds of dollars on their albums and I have found the most important Guided By Voices release ever to be their third boxed set: Hardcore UFOs.
Five CDs, one DVD, and an 80-page booklet only cost me $55. And trust me, I could never be happier. One disc is their greatest hits, one is a best-of live CD, one is a B-sides and rarities disc, one disc is a bunch of unreleased songs, and one disc is their first EP, which was never issued on CD.
Let’s start with the EP: Forever Since Breakfast. Why did they never release this EP on CD? Well, Bob said that it sounded too much like early REM, which it does, but that is not a bad thing. Breakfast might be one of their best-ever albums. “Let’s Ride” is amazing, and so is “She Wants to Know.” This alone is worth the $55.
The greatest hits disc is titled Human Amusements at Hourly Rates.
Thirty-two tracks at 76+ and you have nowhere near enough hits. But with only so much space on one disc, this track list is amazing, from their early greats like “14 Cheerleader Coldfront” and “Tractor Rape Chain” to their jangly hits like “Teenage FBI” and “The Best of Jill Hives.”
The live disc is also amazing (do you see how much I use this word with the band?). Songs I usually hate come off amazing live, like the scream-along “I am Produced.” The B-sides and unreleased songs are amazing, but I need space to talk about the DVD.
Watch Me Jumpstart is the perfect band documentary. You learn about the band and how they are in real life, and you get amazing live performances. The DVD also contains a short on the band called “Beautiful Plastic,” where you watch Bob and friends sit around and drink and talk about music.
At the end of the piece Bob opens up an old notebook full of lyrics and sings songs that they never recorded. This shows you what music really is.
Music should be between friends. Music should never be about sex or exposure or money or fame. Music should be about homemade t-shirts and writing five songs a day. It should be about a bunch of guys in Dayton, Ohio playing guitars and listening to obscure music. Music should be simple and it should be for the love of the melody.