TITLE: Wowee Zowee
YEAR RELEASED: 1995
CHART ACTION: #117 US, #18 UK
SINGLES: Father to a Sister of Thought (#148 UK), Rattled by the Rush (#91 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not unless you love Pavement
LINEUP: Stephen Malkmus, Scott Kannberg, Bob Nastanovich, Steve West, Mark Ibold
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The one where Pavement sheds their casual fans, for better or worse.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Those listeners expecting an album full of the more pop-oriented and tuneful songs of Pavement’s ‘hit’ singles were in for a surprise when this came out in 1995.
“Rattled by the Rush” is a song in that mode, with a catchy chorus, but the song itself sounds cobbled together from several left turns (doesn’t mean it’s not great), and the rest of the album defied pop expectations. It’s a quieter album for the most part; one where Stephen Malkmus sounds like he just woke up from a THC-induced nap to record his vocals.
I didn’t get this a bit at first, but time and distance have helped me embrace this a little more. The melodies are there, just hidden a bit. It did shed the fans that weren’t along for Pavement’s eclectic ride, and that may have been the intent.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The title is a homage to the first Mothers of Invention album, which had a cut called “Wowie Zowie”
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a huge expansion with live cuts, B-sides, and other outtakes.
GRADE: B+: I was all set to give this a “C” before I listened to this again. It’s a good listen if you know it’s going to be a little off and a little mellower at times.