In Hear This, The A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week: In honor of South By Southwest, we’re picking our favorite songs about the music industry.
Archers Of Loaf, “Lowest Part Is Free” (1994)
Most Archers Of Loaf lyrics are fairly inscrutable, but it seems reasonably clear that “Lowest Part Is Free”—from the band’s unstoppable Vs The Greatest Of All Time EP—is irritated by the music industry. Recorded and released not long after the band’s debut, Icky Mettle, made the Archers indie darlings, the song specifically calls out “the A&R,” which is (or maybe was?) industry-speak for the people at big labels who’d court hip bands and promise them the moon. “Got nothing to say and you say it anyway,” growls Eric Bachmann over one of the band’s most hard-charging songs. (And dare I say, its very best.)
It’s easy to imagine how much interest Archers Of Loaf was generating among the businessmen of the time: Even Madonna personally courted the band to record for her label, Maverick, though they passed because, as Bachmann later explained, “We didn’t want to be associated with Candlebox.” The song’s key line, too, seems to wrestle with the idea of selling out: “So full of shit / Let’s write some hits!” In a perfect world, this song would’ve been one.