Guided by Voices

I Am a Scientist

Composed by Robert Pollard

Song Review by

By 1994, the opening of the radio airwaves to new and interesting bands that had sprung up in Nirvana's wake had already all but seized up into a steady trickle of neo-heshers playing the same angsty drivel. Therefore, when "I Am A Scientist" started showing up on the radio late that year, it sounded like the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" of lo-fi, the song that was poppy and catchy enough to kickstart not just Guided By Voices but Pavement, Liz Phair, Sebadoh and any number of other cool but culty bands into the musical mainstream. For better or worse, it didn't happen that way, but "I Am A Scientist" still sounds awfully fresh. So minimal and so simply recorded that you can actually hear the room's ambient noise click on just before Robert Pollard's vocal track starts, the song rides on a simple but elegant bassline, restrained drums and perfectly distorted guitars, no element taking precedence over the others. For a lo-fi song, it's awfully well-balanced and listenable, and it's one of the most mature and elegant melodies of the group's career.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Bee Thousand 1994 Scat
I Am a Scientist [EP] 1994 2:31
Threadwaxing Space Live: Compilation 1993-94 1996
Various Artists
Zero Hour 2:23
Jellyfish Reflector 1996 1:56
Watch Me Jumpstart 1998 Matador
No Image 2000
The Best of Guided by Voices: Human Amusements at Hourly Rates 2003 Matador 2:24
The Electrifying Conclusion [Video] 2005 Plexifilm
Live from Austin TX [DVD] 2007 New West
blue highlight denotes editor's pick