Pavement Albums Ranked

The Pavement was an American indie rock band that formed in Stockton, California in 1989. For most of their career, the group consisted of Stephen Malkmus (vocals and guitar), Scott Kannberg (guitar and vocals), Mark Ibold (bass), Steve West (drums), and Bob Nastanovich (percussion and vocals). Initially conceived as a recording project, the band at first avoided press or live performances, while attracting considerable underground attention with their early releases. Gradually evolving into a more polished band, Pavement recorded five full-length albums and nine EPs over the course of their decade-long career, though they disbanded with some acrimony in 1999 as the members moved on to other projects. In 2010, they undertook a well-received reunion tour and will perform two 30th anniversary shows in 2021. Here are all of the Pavement albums ranked.

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7. Pacific Trim (1996)

“Marking the important transition from the weirdness and self-imposed exile of_Wowie Zowie_ and the more listener-friendly yet more dangerous_Brighten The Corners_, the Pacific Trim EP has one of the best Pavement songs in “Give It Day Day,” one of the more interesting experiments in “Saginaw,” and the light fun of “Gangsters and Pranksters” that gives Pavement their charm”

6. Quarantine The Past (2010)

“The stuff that’s on this compilation is so great, I don’t know how they pulled it off. After going through all of Pavement discography they became one of my favorite bands, and I must say that as much as I hate “greatest hits” albums or compilations, this is fantastic. They didn’t choose all of their hits, focusing on the tracks they preferred, I believe, as these are the ones they played live in Montreal this summer.”

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5. Terror Twilight (1999)

“Terror Twilight is lovely. It sounds nothing like the Pavement we were supposed to love, but it does sound lovable in its own right, and that’s preferable.  Rightly smug but clearly not the product of self-satisfaction, quirks don’t so much carry the album as saturate every second of it.  One track on TT has more tunes on it than most bands can get onto a whole album, hiding in plain sight and capable of lodging themselves in your brain without apparently going via the ear.”

4. Brighten The Corners (1997)

“For me each album Pavement released was a little bit of a drop in standard from the one that preceded it. That’s not to say this isn’t still a very good album it just suffers in my eyes in comparison to it’s older siblings. The songwriting is still quality, the lyrics still hit the mark but with each album Pavement got a little closer to being a ‘normal’ indie rock band rather than the glorious chaotic musical magicians they were.

3. Wowee Zowee (1995)

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“Wowee zowee, is Pavement’s masterpiece. It’s an epic record, Stephen Malkmus’ white album. Great songs here; rattled by the rush, serpentine pad, and, best friend’s arm, are just three of the many wonderful songs on this LP. Slanted and enchanted, is probably most people’s choice as best Pavement record, but for me, it’s this one. Casual genius.”

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2. Slanted And Enchanted (1992)

“he most impressive parts are the bizarre guitar, the whimsically odd short songs/interludes (or what-nots as I call them) and the extreme diversity from song to song. One song can be blistering and directionless one minute, one can be to the point, and the next song will be slow and simple, and everything in between that is somewhere on this album. With a wide range of Garage, Psychedelic, Post-Punk, even a twinge of Hardcore (80’s early hardcore punk), Pavement show that they can mash anything together and make it sound wonderful and enjoyable.”

1. Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994)

“Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain is a far more coherent and consistent album. I do think that the first two Pavement albums are as influential as music gets but I do feel that Slanted & Enchanted is the more influential of the two, I know many bands have tried and will keep on trying to replicate that messy Noise Pop sound – not that Pavement were the first to have that aesthetic, but they were they did it in their own way which has tried to be recreated. That said, this is by far the better album.”