“Fader Rules” by Superchunk

211. Song No. 3,204: “Fader Rules,” Superchunk
Cup of Sand, 2003

I stumbled upon Superchunk when they opened for some high-school-era Electric Factory (RIP) show, fell in love on the spot and immediately sought out their then-most-current album, 2001’s Here’s to Shutting Up. Which instantly became my definitive sound and album for this juggernaut of indie rock whose career is so much more than its eighth studio album, as that initial introduction is wont to imprint itself so indelibly.

Despite a decades-long career packed with all kinds of incredible music—including this year’s Wild Loneliness, which is just as delightful as its goat-through-a-playhouse-window cover art—Here’s to Shutting Up reigned stubbornly supreme as the album I’d go for whenever I craved the best thing to come from either of the Carolinas. Aside from “Martinis on the Roof,” the final track on 1997’s Indoor Living (the second Superchunk album I purchased), nothing could ever equal the love I felt for my go-to airline-travel/warm-weather/comfort-listen album and its shining gems like “Art Class (Song for Yayoi Kusama)” and especially “Florida’s on Fire,” the latter being a song I have been dying to gush about since I started this blog and cannot wait to revisit and revel in in another 257 songs.

(I’d go so far as to say that the same track from which Here’s to Shutting Up takes its name—“Out on the Wing”—could just as easily supply the perfect tagline for this blog: “All the music that I like is out of date.”)

The retrospective Cup of Sand is filled with B-sides, rarities, covers, alternate versions and all manner of other musical odds and ends from more than a decade of recordings adding up to a double album teeming with treats of all kinds. But it, too, never ascended to the desert-island-album ranks that Here’s to Shutting Up has enjoyed for literal decades now. But gottdamn if this crunchy, fuzzy track didn’t grab me once I consumed it on its own.

I love a gratuitously long song, and “Fader Rules” creeping up on the six-minute mark makes for a deeply satisfying play time. Plus, the noises and buzzes and lo-fi hum this song is built on all make it feel engineered very specifically to my exact delight. But what got me after this song finally had a chance to settle on my brain is how, despite its long-unfurling, indulgently instrumental stroll toward its conclusion, it really only has eight lines of lyrics. But when 12.5% of a song dispenses invaluable advice like “Let’s blow this up for gaining ground,” that’s when I am unshakably certain that it and I were always fated to meet, even if it took 19 years for me to finally appreciate how loaded it is with so many things I should have known better to love sooner.