This is the music that Jess is sleeping to when Luke wakes him up. Price Yeah!, is by the American indie rock band Pavement, first released on their EP Slay Tracks: 1933-1969 in 1989. The EP was self-recorded, and is experimental hard-core punk.
The band were partly inspired by their home town of Stockton, California, a place they considered flat and boring that they wanted to escape from – something that Jess can probably relate to.
Being an extremely limited release, copies of this EP quickly became collector’s items selling for hundreds of dollars. Jess is most likely listening to Westing (By Mustang and Sextant), a compilation of Pavement’s early EP’s and singles which was released in 1993.
The song begins:
Just cause I’m fakin’
Doesn’t mean I’m wrong
Cause I bought my price, yeah,
No I got it at cost
And there’s the things I know
Wrote them down on your nib
Just remember turning
It’s a rapid affair
Jess knows that he is faking it – but is he faking by hiding his true level of misery from Luke and the town, or is he faking by pretending to be less interested in Rory than he makes out? He’s aware of the price he is paying, but considers it worthwhile. The “rapid affair” may allude to how quickly he fell for Rory, and the things he wrote down to the annotations he made in Rory’s book.
Jess says he needs loud music on in order to sleep. Possibly he got into that habit needing to block out the sound of his mother partying or entertaining guests. Or even the sound of Liz having sex or fighting with her companion of the moment. Or they just lived in an apartment block where there was a lot of noise from other people, and little insulation against it.
Either way, it’s a sign that he didn’t have the best environment growing up. Unless he simply hasn’t adjusted to the quietness of the country after living in New York?
If Jess always needs loud music in order to sleep, how on earth has poor Luke been able to get any sleep? For that matter, why is he surprised to learn about it now? Has he just been gritting his teeth for six months and working long days on little sleep, and this is the final straw? And why haven’t any of their neighbours complained?