Brighten the Corners

Pavement’s 1997 album, Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed., was reissued this month, though it doesn’t include their single “Gangsters and Pranksters.” They played it at a crowded show at the Middle East basement in Cambridge in February 1997, when S.M. sang: “I’ve got all this Harvard LSD / Why won’t anybody fuck me?” everyone cheered loudly & laughed. The songs on this album are clean and elaborate, studio-wise, with R.E.M. producer Mitch Easter, and S.M.’s lyrics could be his most accomplished. Malkmus also takes on certain poetic ancestors or half-assedly claims a lineage for his writing: “Back on the planet now / And I’m beginning to see just how / Echelon your dreams and they’ll come true, type slowly.” A fitting final record, as their actual last one wasn’t coherent enough. Already by this time inimitable in their sound and studio brilliance. Live that night in Cambridge and a couple months later in Providence they were sloppy but energized, a great group of songs with psychedelic leanings, drone guitars via Beach Boys melodies.

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