TITLE: Brighten the Corners
YEAR RELEASED: 1997
CHART ACTION: #70 US, #27 UK
SINGLES: Stereo (#48 UK), Shady Lane (#40 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Fans, only
LINEUP: Stephen Malkmus, Bob Nastanovich, Scott Kannberg, Steve West, Mark Ibold
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After the relative laziness of Wowee Zowee, Pavement perks up a bit, but a few songs fall flat.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Stephen Malkmus seemed to have woken from the haze of his mind after Wowee Zowee, at least at the beginning of this, Pavement’s fourth full-length disc.
Starting with “Stereo” and “Shady Lane”, the band front-loads the record with witticisms, and continue with “Date w/IKEA” (snarking on IKEA isn’t just a 2010’s thing). Yet the albums calms down a bit after the opening, and in my ears it falls into a lull.
It’s not easy to be the ‘it’ band of the indie scene. Pavement here was trying to give everything that the fans wanted (except the ones who liked them when they were just noisy), and while it succeeds on some levels, as an entire album it falls a bit short of some of their earlier work.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Mitch Easter, famous for producing early REM and other jangly bands, is a co-producer.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, the Nicene Creedence Edition has a ton of extra cuts, B-sides, live stuff. The usual huge package.
GRADE: B+: It’s focused, which you may or may not like in Pavement, but it seems to be mining some of the same ground as before. It’s still pretty good, and gave fans what they wanted.