Pavement: Slanted & Enchanted (1992)


Pavement
Slanted & Enchanted; 1992
Matador Records
My Rating: 88/100
There aren’t many records that I would call “incredibly pretentious” and “brilliant” all in the same breath, but here it goes: SLANTED & ENCHANTED is brilliant in an incredibly pretentious sort of way. For the novice, Pavement’s debut will most likely sound like the schizophrenic garage-band antics of middle-class white kids who’ve been playing their instruments for, oh, three weeks. But don’t be so shallow, you! Here’s the big secret: Pavement could write some great songs! Yes, beneath all the fuzz there’s a juicy fruit waiting to be enjoyed, but SLANTED & ENCHANTED can’t be approached head-on. You have to accept the inherent contradictions (the inverted beauty of “In the Mouth a Desert”), the off-kilter rhythms (“Conduit for Sale!”), and the off-key guitars (“Zurich is Stained”) on their own terms. When you do, you’ll start to see them as a necessary part of the experience. “Here” wouldn’t be nearly so great in the hands of someone with a soulful voice – there’s an undeniable authenticity in Malkmus straining to hit those high notes. But the record’s title really says it all: these songs come from a world of paradoxic landscapes and schizoid vision, the sound of running Escher’s and Picasso’s collected works through a blender. Every piece has its place, and while some tracks are better (“Trigger Cut”, “Two States”) than others (“No Life Singed Her”, “Our Singer”), SLANTED & ENCHANTED is a jigsaw that wouldn’t quite fit together if a note was missing. Obtuse? Yes. Inscrutable? Fer sure. Esoteric? To a point. A waste of time? Not at all. Give SLANTED & ENCHANTED as many listens as it takes. You will believe.
Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (5/5)
Consistency (4/5)
Tracks:
1. Summer Babe (Winter Version) (4.5/5)
2. Trigger Cut/Wounded-Kite at :17 (5/5)
3. No Life Singed Her (4/5)
4. In the Mouth a Desert (5/5)
5. Conduit Sale! (5/5)
6. Zurich is Stained (5/5)
7. Chesley’s Little Wrists (4/5)
8. Loretta’s Scars (4.5/5)
9. Here (5/5)
10. Two States (5/5)
11. Perfume-V (5/5)
12. Fame Throwa (5/5)
13. Jackals, False Grails: The Lonesome Era (4/5)
14. Our Singer (3.5/5)

Slanted_and_Enchanted_album_coverPavement
Slanted & Enchanted; 1992
Matador Records

My Rating: 88/100

There aren’t many records that I would call “incredibly pretentious” and “brilliant” all in the same breath, but here it goes: SLANTED & ENCHANTED is brilliant in an incredibly pretentious sort of way. For the novice, Pavement’s debut will most likely sound like the schizophrenic garage-band antics of middle-class white kids who’ve been playing their instruments for, oh, three weeks. But don’t be so shallow, you! Here’s the big secret: Pavement could write some great songs! Yes, beneath all the fuzz there’s a juicy fruit waiting to be enjoyed, but SLANTED & ENCHANTED can’t be approached head-on. You have to accept the inherent contradictions (the inverted beauty of “In the Mouth a Desert”), the off-kilter rhythms (“Conduit for Sale!”), and the off-key guitars (“Zurich is Stained”) on their own terms. When you do, you’ll start to see them as a necessary part of the experience. “Here” wouldn’t be nearly so great in the hands of someone with a soulful voice – there’s an undeniable authenticity in Malkmus straining to hit those high notes. But the record’s title really says it all: these songs come from a world of paradoxic landscapes and schizoid vision, the sound of running Escher’s and Picasso’s collected works through a blender. Every piece has its place, and while some tracks are better (“Trigger Cut”, “Two States”) than others (“No Life Singed Her”, “Our Singer”), SLANTED & ENCHANTED is a jigsaw that wouldn’t quite fit together if a note was missing. Obtuse? Yes. Inscrutable? Fer sure. Esoteric? To a point. A waste of time? Not at all. Give SLANTED & ENCHANTED as many listens as it takes. You will believe.

Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (5/5)
Consistency (4/5)

Tracks:

1. Summer Babe (Winter Version) (4.5/5)
2. Trigger Cut/Wounded-Kite at :17 (5/5)
3. No Life Singed Her (4/5)
4. In the Mouth a Desert (5/5)
5. Conduit Sale! (5/5)
6. Zurich is Stained (5/5)
7. Chesley’s Little Wrists (4/5)
8. Loretta’s Scars (4.5/5)
9. Here (5/5)
10. Two States (5/5)
11. Perfume-V (5/5)
12. Fame Throwa (5/5)
13. Jackals, False Grails: The Lonesome Era (4/5)
14. Our Singer (3.5/5)

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