Sound — 9
The first thing one will notice when listening to this album is the fact that it sounds as if it was recorded on the 15 dollar casette tape recorders most everybody born before '95 will remember using at some point. The thing is, this isn't far from the truth. Recorded at crazy ex-hippy drummer Gary Young's Louder Than You Think Studios, it was done on a budget and with little equipment or experience. Though this may sound quite disenchanting at first, it is one of those many little things that makes this album magical. The quirky lo-fi production gives the listener a special connection to the artists, knowing that the songs weren't glossed over by fancy technicians and almost makes you feel like you could have participated in this recording with them. Overall, the album is full of pretty straightforward rock instrumentation, but it still manages to sound fresh and new to the ears. Very refreshing to listen to.
Lyrics — 10
First off, Stephen Malkmus is not what one would call a classically talented singer. However, his voice is very original, and carries an awkward sort of power with it. The lyrics are very vague and full of symbolism, sort of like the cliche "artsy" lyrics of some indie rock today. Keep in mind though that Pavement was really one of the forerunners of this style and that we should be comparing the modern bands to Pavement, not the other way around. The lyrics, often tough to understand, can lead you to derive your own meanings from the songs. This isn't to say that Malkmus wasn't a talented lyricist though, the lyrics are some of the greatest things about this album. The lyrics always flow very well with the music, they seem to be one in the same, and after listening for a while you cannot imagine one without the other.
Overall Impression — 10
By far Pavement's rawest studio album, it's still obviously one of the best they recorded. The majority of the album's songs are amazing, my personal favorites being Summer Babe (Winter Version), Trigger Cut, In The Mouth Of A Desert, Zurich Is Stained, Loretta's Scars, and Here. There is really so much to love about this album, and so little to hate. Just listening to it can give you so many emotions and can conjure so many images it is mind-boggling. If this were lost or stolen, I would buy the resissue of the album simply because it contains so many live performances, b-sides, and unreleased material. Any fans of indie rock, punk, or even obscure pop music should have this as part of their collection. A classic.