Last week, I got the opportunity to try to get someone I kind of sort of know into Pavement. We listened to the first disc of the fantastic rerelease of Crooked Rain Crooked Rain - all eighty minutes of it in one sitting.
By the time we get to "Stop Breathin'" I am told that Pavement reminds this person of a band that she likes. I forgot the name until later. I probably would have forgotten the band's name had I not been reminded again of it later on.
So I listened to her band - some band called The Honorary Title. Now, with my knowledge of people's comparisions of sound to that of Pavement, it should have been obvious that this band would sound nothing like Pavement. Pitchfork compared Tapes 'n' Tapes and Blitzen Trapper to Pavement: Tapes 'n' Tapes owed far more to Wolf Parade and the Arcade Fire than to Malkmus and Friends; Blitzen Trapper owed more to psychedelic rock and its stoner jams.
Guess what. The Honorary Title are a god-damn emo band. They're really diluted in the same way that The Fray made a killing diluting Coldplay's already low-molarity solution into one of a far lower concentration. You know the type of band they are. You're watching some show on network TV - some show about beautiful young people in a beautiful but expensive city, doing the superficial things that beautiful rich people do - and suddenly the ubiquitous emo song plays. You know, to show that somehow, the producers have taste in music that is better than yours will ever be and you should bow down to that. This band could easily score that moment - no questions asked.
The moral here: Pavement is not an emo band. And they never have been, and never should you interpret their music as such. There's a guy I know who would be... wait, was... laughing at this story - he thought it was a logical conclusion - that it was inevitable that someone would tell me to listen to some emo band.