Sound: Pavement's debut Slanted and Enchanted, an incredible mix of lofi and Stephen Malkamus's unforgettable choice of phrases and rhymes left the listener guessing to what the meaning behind the song was. It would be a challenge to follow up on such a great album, but the band pushed and created an album that would not surpass Slanted and Enchanted in any way. They would take the "pavement" sound and make an album that you can not only bang your head to but can also sit and relax to by the name of Wowee Zowee. They moved on to work on another fantastic album called Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. Their fourth album Brighten The Corners is a totally new pavement. Released in 1997 they take back to their origins not only in lyrics but in messy distorted guitars that bring a beautiful ring to your ears. Songs like Embassy Row and Stereo feel like the songs Pavement was trying to make all along, but did not have the ability to produce as artists.
Brighten the Corners not only gives us a rebirth of the old pavement but gives us a glimpse of a new pavement we haven't heard yet. This new Pavement has thrown away all of their old simplistic 4 chord melodies in exchange for complicated guitar melodies of chords that the Pavement in 1992 would not have even thought of. Blue Hawaiian and And Then are great examples of this new style of songwriting Clearly they have not only brought back the sound of the pavement we all loved but they've created a pavement we might even love a little more, if that is possible. // 9
Lyrics: Stephen Malkamus's use of words always captured me, their quirkiness hasn't been duplicated ever since. In this album the lyrics have not changed, which is one of my favorite parts about it. As for Malkamus's voice, it's unique. There really is not much to say except for the fact that he basically talks most of his songs, but that is part of the Pavement sound and with out it I don't think it would be as good. // 9
Overall Impression: With albums like Justin Bieber's My World 2.0 and Band's like Owl City dominating the airwaves I this album is a perfect reality check. It not only displays fantastic song writing ability, it displays talent. Songs like We Are Underused, Passat Dream, Stereo, Old to begin, and Roll With the Wind are songs in which every every indie music fanatic should listen to. Pavement is one of those bands who there is no album that disappoints, they always seem to come up with something new, which is a skill many artists today lack.
The Bonus Material on this album is arguably as good if not better than the actual album. The Peel Sessions are fantastic and Pavement even ventures to cover a Fall song, The Classical. Which they do a fantastic job making it one of my top three songs on the album.
There are seldom albums who put a new perspective on music, this one is one of those albums. This album moved me in ways Revolver didn't. Pavement has made a work of art, an album that surpasses the rest of its time, and set a new standard for independent music. // 10