23 Songs, 1 Hour 13 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Pavement were one of the most successful indie-rock bands of the ‘90s, an era dominated by groups that were never quite sure what to do with commercial success. Pavement’s “hits” add up to “Cut Your Hair” off 1994’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. The remaining choices are a random assortment of the band’s casual greatness. Singer Stephen Malkmus delivered an uncomfortable reluctance with singing that wasn’t sure of itself, while his lyrics mocked himself, his band, and the world that only became more absurd the more it paid attention to the band’s scattershot genius. There are few albums that better capture what the early- to mid-‘90s sounded like to young college grads. Rock music plays an important part in the band’s obsessions. “Range Life” wonders what to do with the “nature kids” in Smashing Pumpkins and the “elegant bachelors” in Stone Temple Pilots, “Stereo” questions how Geddy Lee of Rush gets his voice so high, while “Unseen Power of the Picket Fence” tributes R.E.M., infamously running through their songs until deciding that “Time After Time” is Malkmus’ least favorite. Pavement are filled with sly, fascinating moments.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Pavement were one of the most successful indie-rock bands of the ‘90s, an era dominated by groups that were never quite sure what to do with commercial success. Pavement’s “hits” add up to “Cut Your Hair” off 1994’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. The remaining choices are a random assortment of the band’s casual greatness. Singer Stephen Malkmus delivered an uncomfortable reluctance with singing that wasn’t sure of itself, while his lyrics mocked himself, his band, and the world that only became more absurd the more it paid attention to the band’s scattershot genius. There are few albums that better capture what the early- to mid-‘90s sounded like to young college grads. Rock music plays an important part in the band’s obsessions. “Range Life” wonders what to do with the “nature kids” in Smashing Pumpkins and the “elegant bachelors” in Stone Temple Pilots, “Stereo” questions how Geddy Lee of Rush gets his voice so high, while “Unseen Power of the Picket Fence” tributes R.E.M., infamously running through their songs until deciding that “Time After Time” is Malkmus’ least favorite. Pavement are filled with sly, fascinating moments.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
66 Ratings

66 Ratings

ccoolliinn ,

Perfect.

As good as it gets.

RodneyWelch ,

A good starting place

If I didn't already have everything on this monster I'd buy it in a heartbeat. For people new to this band, this is a pretty good and typically idiosyncratic sampling of one of the great bands of the Nineties, as it randomly collects both career-defining high points ("Summer Babe," "Cut Your Hair," "Shady Lane," "Range Life," "Spit on a Stranger") some off-the-wall masterpieces ("Box Elder," "Here," "Date with IKEA") and some rave-ups ("Two States," "Fight This Generation.") Also, the band has already hit the shuffle button for you, as the track list is wildly non-chronological. Best all, at 9.99 you really can't beat the price. This is a LOT of great music for a ten bucks. P.S. If you listen to this best-of, and find yourself wondering if any of the band's six individual discs are as good as this compilation, the answer is "They're better."

Rilaly ,

Greatest Hits---Strange Indeed

It's odd to see Pavement come out with a greatest hits album. In the traditional sense of a hit, no Pavement song was a hit, yet to my mind just about every song was a hit. The albums Slanted and Enchanted and the incredible Wowee Zowee, in particular, were top to bottom a couple of the best albums of the 90's, and Crooked Rain didn't lag far behind. I can't believe Pavement included the non-LP song Unseen Power of the Picket Fence. It was one of my personal favorite singles. Musician friends of mine tell me that it was Pavement that truly defined music for other musicians in the 90's, more than any other group. I don't doubt that, but that doesn't mean you'll like it. I've always found this impossible to believe, but some people don't like Pavement. You may not either, but I spent the 90's listening to them almost exclusively.

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