15 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As the sarcastic and playful lead singer of Pavement, Stephen Malkmus found himself with the label of “slacker prince” for his obvious indifference to the trappings of the traditional rock singer and his lazy vocal delivery that often sounded like he was reading the paper. Pavement reunited in 2010 just after the sessions for this album, which were recorded with Malkmus’ other group, the Jicks. Producer Beck Hansen understands the Malkmus dynamic and the album is essentially a straightforward and deliberately modest band recording where the excitement is embedded deep in the lyrics and the subtle musical strokes. “Stick Figures In Love” features wooden guitar lines. “Spazz” throws Malkmus into a falsetto while the band noodles between classic rock guitars, prog-rock choirs and jam- band wanderings. “Forever 28” bounces like a pop song until it runs into mangled hard rock guitars. “Asking Price,” “Senator” and “Tigers” play like classic-period Pavement. “Jumblegloss” is a perfect space interlude. Whether backed by Pavement or the Jicks, Malkmus sticks to his gameplan.

EDITORS’ NOTES

As the sarcastic and playful lead singer of Pavement, Stephen Malkmus found himself with the label of “slacker prince” for his obvious indifference to the trappings of the traditional rock singer and his lazy vocal delivery that often sounded like he was reading the paper. Pavement reunited in 2010 just after the sessions for this album, which were recorded with Malkmus’ other group, the Jicks. Producer Beck Hansen understands the Malkmus dynamic and the album is essentially a straightforward and deliberately modest band recording where the excitement is embedded deep in the lyrics and the subtle musical strokes. “Stick Figures In Love” features wooden guitar lines. “Spazz” throws Malkmus into a falsetto while the band noodles between classic rock guitars, prog-rock choirs and jam- band wanderings. “Forever 28” bounces like a pop song until it runs into mangled hard rock guitars. “Asking Price,” “Senator” and “Tigers” play like classic-period Pavement. “Jumblegloss” is a perfect space interlude. Whether backed by Pavement or the Jicks, Malkmus sticks to his gameplan.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.2 out of 5
70 Ratings

70 Ratings

zebraman ,

sometimes an Instant Indie Classic

Depending on how far you delve into the Indie soup, Stephen Malkmus is either simply a 90's legend with Pavement, or a current thriving poet. These songs are the first coming out after the Pavement reunion tour, and the songwriting is sweet and there's very little meandering. Forever 28, Fall Away, and Senator are great rock songs with always smirky brilliant lyrics.

icepalace ,

loose casual pop songs

i'm a huge pavement/stephen malkmus fan, but i was let down by this album. there's a lot of lazy vocals and lyrics. not that the performances are uninspired - it's just a lot of the songs feel half-formed or don't go anywhere exciting. and some of the songs rank with the most annoying songs in SM's history ("senator"). beck does his best with adding a few flourishes - the french horn/piano on "no one is" are nice touches. but overall, this album feels pretty boring and tossed-off. half of the songs should've been b-sides. PASS.

Goatchumby ,

4 times in a row

The first time I fired up Mirror Traffic I didn't stop until I had cycled through the album four times. I have been listening to Malkmus sing for nearly two decades and his voice never loses that familiar and welcoming tone.

Beck's production is a welcome addition along with the return of quick instrumental tracks (Jumblegloss) and outros (Share the Red). No One Is (As I Are Be) is a fantastic, breathy and low key song that really blurs the line between Malkmus and Beck. It's a lot of tracks to digest but every time I reach the end of Gorgeous Georgie I can't help but want to fire it up again. If you ask me it's the best Malkmus since his first went solo.

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