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Top 20 Pavement Songs Guaranteed to Impress A Disinterested Barista

Has every local coffee shop banned you for talking too much about Pavement? Good news, there’s a new cafe opening up in a nearby neighborhood! Stroll into Das Java, the minimalist cafe brewing up strong blends, with plenty of baristas ready to hear your meandering takes on music. Time to recommend some songs by everyone’s favorite band from Stockton! (Listen along to the playlist)

“Date w/IKEA”

Slide into the joint with this tune blasting in your ears. You are definitely the main character here, grooving to Pavement’s fourth album “Brighten the Corners,” naturally. Walk in with a knowing smile, and wait in line with your sunglasses on as you scan the room. Perfect, it’s afternoon staff, which includes that one cute barista who looks like she wants to actually kill you.

“In the Mouth A Desert”

Let this play aloud from your phone and get odd looks as people realize just how cool you are. “They’re called Pavement. This is their earlier stuff, the Gary Young era” you say, to no one in particular. There is a child in line ahead of you, perfect to indoctrinate the youth early when it comes to essential ‘90s indie bands.

“Elevate Me Later”

Before you order, you ask the barista, “That’s so funny, were you just playing the album ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain’?” You know they weren’t, it’s been Norah Jones for hours. Perhaps days. The barista can barely hear you over the noise. You ask again, but she just asks for your order. That’s OK. Plenty of time to dive into the brilliance of Pavement while you’re here.


You ask the barista casually, “So who is your cellphone carrier? ‘Cause Pavement has this one song called ‘AT&T’ and—” She says “What the actual fuck are you talking about?” This isn’t going well. Good thing you brought a vinyl of their third album Wowee Zowee into the coffeeshop. Show her the liner notes. Maybe this will help clear up any questions.


You ask if they take song requests. The barista says, “Maybe. You can email the manager. What was your order, again?” Get the manager’s email, and ask them to play this laidback tune for customers. Folks visiting or working can vibe out in a laid-back way, plus you’ve learned that reaching for aux cords, reaching over counters or touching iPads playing Spotify doesn’t go over well if you’re not an employee.

“Flux = Rad”

You begin tapping your toes, this song running through your head. You ask for your usual order, an extra-large cold brew with five shots of caffeine. She asks, “Are you sure?” and you just lean on the counter like a rockstar. Wear your glasses, maybe even light a cigarette before she asks you to quickly “put that shit out.”

“Cut Your Hair”

The timing is insane: this song suddenly comes on the speakers, just as you go to pay. “This is actually one of their bigger hits!” you say. “Yeah, this plays like every other fucking day on this one big playlist we have,” the barista says. As you nod knowingly, begin to gaze into her eyes. Is there a connection? No, she looks mad. Maybe stop singing along to the song, it sounds like you’re actually telling her to cut her hair.

“Shady Lane”

Pro-tip: baristas love it when questions are repeated like “Where is my coffee?” or “How long is this going to take?” Which is why you should ask once again if they take song requests. Ask if she can play this song, maybe hint that there could be a cute little date in the future, down a similar “shady lane,” not to make any assumptions. You realize how creepy that sounds out loud. The barista aggressively asks for you to “just pay,” people in line behind you angrily cough. Don’t they know how important this moment is for you? They can wait!

“You Are a Light”

From their final studio album “Terror Twilight,” this Pavement song also works as a compliment! After tapping your credit card to pay, make meaningless small talk about how amazing technology is before looking the barista directly in the eye and saying “You are a light.” She will show appreciation with an alarmed “…OK?” and by talking to the next customer. Be careful how you deliver this one, it could sound like you’re recruiting for a cult.

“Texas Never Whispers”

As you end the purchase, whisper “Thank you,” along with a few other obscure sentences and a haphazard wink. As she talks to other customers, ask “Is that a Texas accent I hear?” When she quickly says “No, and please wait over there for your order,”you suddenly realize that you might want some coffee-cake. You walk back into line and watch her let out a deep sigh from fathoms unknown.

“Silence Kid”

You can take a hint. She wants you to shut up for a while, which is why you just peruse the pastries and leaf through the chips. Sing this song to yourself while tapping your fingers at the pickup counter. Talk to other people waiting, make friends, ask them about the gospel according to Stephen Malkmus: Pavement is all about bringing people together.

“Type Slowly”

This song title is a reference for using your Notes app while looking around the coffeehouse. Take copious notes about the patrons so that you’ll be able to gossip later with the barista. Think of all the inside jokes you’ll have, even write down a few punchlines – I’m sure the staff will love your unsolicited standup comedy and hot takes.

“Grave Architecture”

When the barista isn’t busy, ask her about the history of the building. “I don’t fucking know, dude,” she replies. “Huh, interesting. I’m thinking 1950s,” you guess. You’d look it up on your phone, but you’re almost out of battery and this cafe purposefully doesn’t have public plugs. Another complaint to bring up to your favorite barista! Pro-tip: tell her how much she looks like bassist Mark Ibold, that will really get her attention.

“Summer Babe – Winter Version”

Complaining about the temperature is yet another way to talk to a disinterested barista. “Any chance of turning up the temperature? It’s getting nippy,” you say. The barista replies, “Don’t ever say the word ‘nippy’ to me again, and we’re not allowed to touch the thermostat, it’s all automated.” You use this as a pivot to converse about climate change or how Pavement’s first album “Slanted and Enchanted” will be interpreted in the future.

“Starlings of the Slipstream”

Share some of your impromptu poetry with the cafe staff. Let this song inspire a free-verse slam poetry reading. When an older member of staff mentions that there’s no “TikTok stuff or performance art bullshit allowed in here,” you quickly apologize before pulling a flower from your coat pocket. Also name drop band member Bob Nastanovich, that might get you a few more minutes to read your verses.


Your cold brew order is called up and suddenly it’s all over. The staff is waiting for you to leave. You briskly approach the barista and ask “So, what do you think of Pavement? How about that Scott Kannberg guitar sound?” She replies, “Dude I like them, yeah… did you want anything else? Customers are waiting.” Seeing how busy she is, quickly write out a killer Pavement playlist on a napkin in squiggly Sharpie.

“Spit on a Stranger”

You sense overall hostility and begin to sense customers unhappy with your continued presence. The barista is incredibly busy. So instead, you wait, singing this song, loudly. Bang on the napkin dispensers like drummer Steve West. People watch, trying to avoid eye contact. Don’t keep it up too long, you don’t want another lifetime ban from a local restaurant!

“Gold Soundz”

You listen to this song in your headphones and give a thumbs-up to the displeased staff. As you chug your cold brew, you feel the caffeine course through your veins, a river of excitement and ideas. How fortunate that the world gets to hear about your Technicolor experience. This too shall one day be nostalgia, be a memory replayed. Those sitting beside uncomfortably shift from the strange noises you excitedly grunt out. That’s just what Pavement does to you!


Go out with a banger. Write this song request on a cardboard coffee sleeve and toss it over the counter to your favorite barista. When she goes, “What the fuck, dude?” just wink and say “Read the sleeve!” Even if the staff threatens to get the manager out or call the cops, you’ll stop at nothing to make Pavement song recommendations in this café. As you are locked out, you realize how hilarious it is that you never even got that barista’s name. Funny – how precious, fleeting and brief life is, much like the output of a certain band you love.

“Black Out”

Damn. So you’ve been banned from another coffee shop for pushing Pavement on the entire staff. What’s happened to this city? This city used to have a scene, man. Time to go home and chug that 12-pack of Coors. No better way to spend a Friday night rocking out to Pavement alone while dancing naked next to windows inside brightly-lit rooms at night! Damn the complaints, tonight you are an indie rock god.

Take this playlist and make that barista fall in love: