Generally, you know it from the start. By the fourth page and by the fifth minute you should know if it’s any good. Or, alternatively, if it’s any good for you. It’s a rare miracle when you hate a book from the get go and then suddenly, almost accidentally, floodgates open and you see Jesus. Hooks might come, but it’s the style that does it in the end. The click that should come when you first arrive.
Built To Spill didn’t click but Stephen Malkmus did. Except that Built To Spill never did.
In fact, Pavement was one such miracle I’ve alluded to earlier. After the ragged pointlessness (or that’s what I thought) of Slanted & Enchanted, I was never going to give them another chance. Until one day “Summer Babe” began playing and suddenly, almost accidentally, floodgates opened and Malkmus’s melodies started to make sense. Not the lyrics, no, but that one Lou Reed-esque laugh is worthy of most artists’ entire discographies. That’s just one hook in the sea of colourful noise, granted, but it clicked.