Here are my Pavement album reviews. I regret to say I haven’t reviewed any of their EPs. I understand there are some people who believe that music is their most significant.
1992: Slanted and Enchanted (10/10)
Pavement achieves the perfect balance between extremely accessible pop rock and noisy, deliberately difficult idiosyncrasy in a way that few bands had achieved previously. This record could be said to be the foundational document of American indie rock (as something opposed to alternative); the number of bands that have tried to sound like Pavement since is rather staggering. (Though it must be admitted that others got here first, but few, if any, were this accessible.)
Every song here is among their very best too, so that helps.
1994: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (9/10)
Slightly more accessible than the last one, the songs are stronger and the blueprint for oh so many indie rock bands feels set.
I struggle as to whether I prefer this one to Slanted and Enchanted or vice versa, but together I think they define American indie rock in the ’90s better than anything else; the idiosyncrasy, the combination of melody and quirkiness, the willingness to present kind of kooky ideas in accessible rock songs.
And I think this is their best set of songs but the edge on Slanted and Enchanted feels more significant to me.
1995: Wowee Zowee (9/10)
Another of the numerous ’90s bands I ignored in the ’90s because I was stubborn and horribly uncool – or, really, the older sibling, and therefore I had nobody to help me out. (I did have older step-siblings one of whom gave me Vitalogy before I was old enough to appreciate it. But that’s it.)
Far less immediate and way more difficult than their first two albums, this really seems to be the sound of a band telling casual fans to fuck off, or trying to recapture their earlier, weirder days before they were “corrupted” by releasing LPs/CDs for an actual label (not that Drag City wasn’t).
I think the scope is what impresses most. It’s not quite The White Album of ’90s indie rock – okay, maybe it’s really far from that – but they definitely throw nearly everything at the wall to see what sticks. And the production on a couple of the tracks is so deliberately weird/difficult as to be incredibly endearing (at least, to my ears).
Science love these guys.
1997: Brighten the Corners (8/10)
A kinder, gentler Pavement. With hindsight I think we can say this is the first record where it really sounds like Malkmus is writing songs for himself, rather than the band. I’m not sure that’s fair, but I sure feel like this has more in common with his solo career than with Slanted and Enchanted. It’s still recognizably Pavement, but a far mellower one.
None of that to say it’s not good. I really, really like this, but that’s because I like both Pavement and Malkmus solo. And this is a happy medium.
If the songs weren’t so strong, I think this record would be a disappointment.
1999: Terror Twilight (???)
I have not listened to this yet.