Remember the nineties? Remember when we had a different dud of a president? When Nirvana made their “masterpiece" Nevermind? When Pavement were dominating the radio with their catchy, often solemnly beautiful songs about summer babes and … often nothing at all, though we knew every word they were singing about was honest, and we knew what they were talking about, and we could relate to it? Well, neither do I, cause I was only a few months old when Pavement’s first album, Slanted & Enchanted, came out.
Through spastic guitar solos, gritty guitars, fat bass and just plain good drums, Pavement have often been described as one of the first indie bands, and often are called the best. On their first album, Slanted & Enchanted, Pavement decided to only worry on the music and not the overall production of the album, which is one of Pavement’s signature sounds. Stephen Malkmus is the mastermind of the album, writing pretty much every song and occupying the position of front-man. Though well in their mid-twenties when signed to New York’s indie label Matador, Pavement dominated the indie scene for a good eight years, until they broke up in 2000, after five albums.
#134 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Best Albums list
S.M. (Stephen Malkmus): Lead vocals, lead guitar, bass
Spiral Staircase (Scott Kannberg): Guitar, bass, backing vocals
Gary Young: Drums
Slanted & Enchanted:
On this album? Ha!
Pavement’s first album has it’s fair share of filler tracks, though often enjoyable. Totalling about four, the worst songs on the album have just some odd themes to them, though acceptable to a point. The worst songs on the album, Conduit for Sale!
, Chesley’s Little Wrists
and Two States
are not bad songs, but could’ve easily been deleted from the album, as they do a poor job showcasing the album. Usually sporting weird riffs and out of the ordinary vocals, especially on Conduit for Sale
, which has a rap about rather stupid stuff and a repetitive chorus of S.M. shouting “I’m Trying! I’m Trying!" over and over again, which tries one’s patience. The other two just have rather annoying riffs, boring vocals, but stay in a good time period, with Chesley’s Little Wrists
clocking in at 1:30 and Two States
and 1:47. I really can’t think of anything else bad about the album.
Few albums (especially debuts) showcase such magnificent song-writing and thought stimulating lyrics seen on this album. The best songs are not hard to identify. Summer Babe (Winter Version)
is the intro track, which is the perfect introduction to this album, complete with good-time suitable chords, a pronounced bass line and S.M.’s peak vocal performance on the album. Through spottings of girlfriends eating her fingers, to the selling of shiny robes, and an outro as good as outros get, Summer Babe
is often described as Pavement’s most triumphant song. Quickly followed by another gem track, Trigger Cut/Wounded Kite at :17
, which is Pavement’s other dominant music style; a rockin’ riff and rather simplistic vocal stylings, which breaks into the purely enjoyable part of high chords and vocals, and the lyrics make no sense but keep you hooked anyway, with such memorable lines as “Ex magician, still knows the tricks, tricks are everything to me until they’re free". An awesome bridge with instrumentals and “Sha-na-na" vocals. Another perfection. The next fantastic song is In The Mouth A Desert
, which begins with a ludicrous riff, but enters into a darker song, with a trudging, signature bass line and hardly noticeable guitars, and supposedly angry vocals leading into a silent chorus, with the continuing bass line and backing vocals, going back into the pre-verse, with is a fiercly struck chord and shouting vocals, eventually going into the highlight of the song, a solo with accompanying “whoo hoo hoo"-ing vocals.
Though short, Zurich is Stained
is an effective song. Mellow guitar riffs and a groovy rhythm section support the vocals, which are surprisingly nice and bring this song a good garage-band kind of feel. It’s over too short. Loretta’s Scars
is another simple but effective riff and the lyrics doing it’s namesake, and a distortion filled bridge, this song is nothing new, but dammit it’s enjoyable. The solo is also nice, too, with a barely noticeable rhythm guitar doing a moving riff. The chorus is the key here, with it’s three chord wonder feel and box-esque distortion. Rather interesting lyrics occupy the song, though you can’t really hear them individually, the most notable “I can see the sun!". Add another solo, and you’re done. Here
. What can be said? Here is my personal favourite of the album, with it’s moving lyrics about moving on, but not really wanting to, signifying the innocence of youth, I would assume. Here
has a minor riff, chords and the first notable appearance of percussion, and is actually Pavement’s quintessential softer song. The highlight? The whole song. The remaining songs are a bit harder, but help you get a good feel for Pavement’s heavier side. The best being Jackals, False Grails: The Lonesome Era
, complete with synthesizer and crunched guitars. The bass is clear and enjoyable, and fuzzy vocals make this song a notable song because it has the right to rock. And rock it does, with an enjoyable chorus and powerful chorus, this song has a rather entrancing vibe to it, complete with a non-distorted solo and a mellowed down verse to end the song on. Our Singer
. This song is their most mature song on the album, with rather beautiful chords and S.M. giving one his better vocal performances on the album. Through repetition of the verse, and the occasional musical chorus, this song is the most dreamy song on the album, something that has something to offer people of all genres, especially the calm, indie lovers. This is something of a sneak peak to their sophomore release, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
, which showcases more songs such as this. Perfect ending.
This album is definitely in my top three of all time, as it has something to please everyone. Summer-influenced songs about adolescent fantasies, hard rocking riffs, dark melodies and such enchanting lyrics that can no doubt satisfy anyone with a need to think. No indie album has been as influential ever, and I suspect none will never take on that role again. Slanted is the ultimate indie album.
97%, A+, 5/5
Thanks for reading,