"Senator"

After the pathos of last year's triumphant Pavement tour, Stephen Malkmus clears the air with a jovial rocker from Mirror Traffic, his superb upcoming collaboration with producer Beck. It's faster and lighter than most of the album, streamlining the Jicks' mellow-gold West Coast approach while Malkmus races to the jokey hook line: "I know what the senator wants / What the senator wants is a blooow joooob." But there's also time for a poignant Neil Young-style guitar outro and a dazed half-spoken reflection about "smoking weed in our truck."

Listen to "Senator":

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