Guided by Voices is one of my favorite bands — Ohio pride! — but they’re so prolific that even I have tons of stuff of theirs I haven’t listened to.
Luckily, Matthew Perpetua made us a 100-track playlist of his favorite GBV songs:
New playlist 100+ GUIDED BY VOICES SUPER-CLASSICS, literally just a playlist of my favorite Pollard songs from all over the catalog, a perfect introduction to GBV
YouTube (+3 bonus songs) https://t.co/0dlVzkYIXy pic.twitter.com/aofukW9tD5
— Matthew Perpetua (@perpetua) April 2, 2023
If you’re already a fan, I really like Marc Woodworth’s Bee Thousand entry in the 33 1/3 series. (One of my favorite stories is how Bob Pollard would make album covers for records that didn’t exist.)
A song that means a lot to me off that album is “Gold Star for Robot Boy” — one of the only “new” songs written for the record (most of the others were constructed from old songs and demos). It was written when lead man Bob Pollard was a fourth-grade teacher in his late 30s, literally handing out gold stars, with his family and everybody around telling him to give up rock and roll and resign himself to his teaching career:
If i waited for you to signify
The moves that I should make
I’d be on the take
Gold star for robot boy well then that’s OK
If i waited for you to show me all the actions I should take
Would I get my break?
Gold star for robot boy
And if you want to “swim upstream” with GBV influences, this list of Pollard’s Top 50 is fun. Tony Tost turned it into a Spotify playlist.
I also enjoy Pollard’s collage work. (So many of his songs are collages, really: “They both have to do with re-assembling familiar imagery to create interesting landscapes…One with sight, the other with sound.”)