Brighten the Corners

Performers Pavement

Capitol | December 9, 2008 | Compact Disc

Not yet rated | write a review
Expanded like Slanted & Enchanted, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, and Wowee Zowee before it, Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Edition is a gargantuan, generous expansion of Pavement's fourth album. Upon an initial scan of the track listing, this may seem to hold fewer unexpected treasures for the diehards than its predecessors, as it's heavy on B-sides and radio sessions in circulation (albeit much of the latter only on boots) but that's a misleading impression: even for those well familiar with the cha-cha beat of "No Tan Lines," this reveals much, chiefly how Pavement played as a band. The preponderance of alternate takes -- not just inversions like spinning the sleepy "Type Slowly" into the chaotic "Slowly Typed" or the numerous BBC versions and live takes from Brighten material, but early unveilings of songs that showed up on Terror Twilight, along with revealing that many of that album's B-sides are outtakes from these earlier, looser sessions. First among these Terror tunes is the magnificent "The Hexx," initially titled "And Then...," a dreamy, ominous epic that the band never quite got right but it's fascinating to hear the initial stab here, and a BBC version that showed up later. While there isn't much here in the way of genuine unheard, unearthed studio cuts -- the instrumental "Beautiful as a Butterfly," the nicely shambolic "Cataracts," and the ragged country-ish "Nigel" are the only unreleased BTC outtakes, largely due to those vaults being cleared for B-sides -- having all this music placed in the larger context of the album is helpful, especially as it winds up livening up the rather subdued, ponderous proper album. Apart from the snarky opener "Stereo," and maybe Malkmus' stoned, ironic rapping on "Blue Hawaiian," there wasn't much in the way of humor or mess on Brighten the Corners -- an overcorrection for the wildly weird Wowee Zowee that made sense commercially, but now that these ragged ends are threaded back into the tapestry, Brighten the Corners seems a better album. Now, the flat-out nasty Elastica rip "Westie Can Drum" -- a phrase not sung once in the song, as Malkmus rails on his drummer for not keeping time, telegraphing his frustrations with the band -- is here, "Birds in the Majic Industry" is given lyrics, the cheerfully loping "Harness Your Hopes" is added, the band cuts loose with the careening "Wanna Mess You Around," then eases out with "No Tan Lines." Much of the BTC material sounds more open in the radio sessions, too, and it's possible to hear the roots of Malkmus' elastic guitar jams in his solo career, but the radio sessions also look backward, as the band covers Echo & the Bunnymen ("The Killing Moon"), the Fall ("The Classical"), Faust ("It's a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl"), and the Clean ("Oddity," not a radio session, but close enough to count). These radio sessions also produce some other great funny one-offs, including two absurd themes for "Space Ghost" and the wonderful "Neil Hagerty Meets Jon Spencer in a Non-Alcoholic Bar," a noisy, cloistered dose of rock & roll which amazingly manages to sound like its title; that same Morning Becomes Eclectic session also gives up the pretty terrific noise-pop "Destroy Mater Dei" and the heaping mess of "Maybe Maybe." All this extra material may not carry the same deliberate weight as so much of Brighten the Corners, but it enhances the album considerably, bringing it closer to an album that can stand with Pavement's first three classics. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: December 9, 2008

Genre: Lo Fi

Style: Rock & Pop

Number of Discs: 2

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Label Name: Capitol

UPC: 744861080527

Found in: Lo Fi

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Brighten the Corners

Brighten the Corners

Performers Pavement

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: December 9, 2008

Genre: Lo Fi

Style: Rock & Pop

Number of Discs: 2

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Label Name: Capitol

UPC: 744861080527


Title Track Time
0.DISC 1: --
1.Stereo --
2.Shady Lane/J vs. S --
3.Transport Is Arranged --
4.Date w/Ikea --
5.Old to Begin --
6.Type Slowly --
7.Embassy Row --
8.Blue Hawaiian --
9.We Are Underused --
10.Passat Dream --
11.Starlings of the Slipstream --
12.Fin --
13.And Then (The Hexx) --
14.Beautiful as a Butterfly --
15.Cataracts --
16.Westie Can Drum --
17.Winner of The --
18.Birds in the Majic Industry --
19.Harness Your Hopes --
20.Roll with the Wind --
21.Harness Your Hopes ["Spit On A Stranger" B-side] --
22.Roll With the Wind ["Spit On A Stranger" B-side] --
0.DISC 2: --
1.Slowly Typed --
2.Cherry Area --
3.Wanna Mess You Around --
4.No Tan Lines --
5.And Then (The Hexx) --
6.Harness Your Hopes --
7.Killing Moon --
8.Winner of The --
9.Embassy Row Psych Intro --
10.Nigel --
11.Chevy (Old to Begin) --
12.Roll with the Wind (Roxy) --
13.Oddity --
14.Type Slowly (Live) --
15.Neil Hagerty Meets Jon Spencer in a Non-Alcoholic Bar --
16.Destroy Mater Dei --
17.It's a Rainy Day Sunshine Girl --
18.Maybe Maybe --
19.Date w/Ikea [Radio 1 John Peel Show] --
20.Fin [Radio 1 John Peel Show] --
21.Grave Architecture [Radio 1 John Peel Show] --
22.Classical [Radio 1 John Peel Show] --
23.Space Ghost Theme, Pt. 1 --
24.Space Ghost Theme, Pt. 2 --

Editorial Notes

Expanded like Slanted & Enchanted, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, and Wowee Zowee before it, Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Edition is a gargantuan, generous expansion of Pavement's fourth album. Upon an initial scan of the track listing, this may seem to hold fewer unexpected treasures for the diehards than its predecessors, as it's heavy on B-sides and radio sessions in circulation (albeit much of the latter only on boots) but that's a misleading impression: even for those well familiar with the cha-cha beat of "No Tan Lines," this reveals much, chiefly how Pavement played as a band. The preponderance of alternate takes -- not just inversions like spinning the sleepy "Type Slowly" into the chaotic "Slowly Typed" or the numerous BBC versions and live takes from Brighten material, but early unveilings of songs that showed up on Terror Twilight, along with revealing that many of that album's B-sides are outtakes from these earlier, looser sessions. First among these Terror tunes is the magnificent "The Hexx," initially titled "And Then...," a dreamy, ominous epic that the band never quite got right but it's fascinating to hear the initial stab here, and a BBC version that showed up later. While there isn't much here in the way of genuine unheard, unearthed studio cuts -- the instrumental "Beautiful as a Butterfly," the nicely shambolic "Cataracts," and the ragged country-ish "Nigel" are the only unreleased BTC outtakes, largely due to those vaults being cleared for B-sides -- having all this music placed in the larger context of the album is helpful, especially as it winds up livening up the rather subdued, ponderous proper album. Apart from the snarky opener "Stereo," and maybe Malkmus' stoned, ironic rapping on "Blue Hawaiian," there wasn't much in the way of humor or mess on Brighten the Corners -- an overcorrection for the wildly weird Wowee Zowee that made sense commercially, but now that these ragged ends are threaded back into the tapestry, Brighten the Corners seems a better album. Now, the flat-out nasty Elastica rip "Westie Can Drum" -- a phrase not sung once in the song, as Malkmus rails on his drummer for not keeping time, telegraphing his frustrations with the band -- is here, "Birds in the Majic Industry" is given lyrics, the cheerfully loping "Harness Your Hopes" is added, the band cuts loose with the careening "Wanna Mess You Around," then eases out with "No Tan Lines." Much of the BTC material sounds more open in the radio sessions, too, and it's possible to hear the roots of Malkmus' elastic guitar jams in his solo career, but the radio sessions also look backward, as the band covers Echo & the Bunnymen ("The Killing Moon"), the Fall ("The Classical"), Faust ("It's a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl"), and the Clean ("Oddity," not a radio session, but close enough to count). These radio sessions also produce some other great funny one-offs, including two absurd themes for "Space Ghost" and the wonderful "Neil Hagerty Meets Jon Spencer in a Non-Alcoholic Bar," a noisy, cloistered dose of rock & roll which amazingly manages to sound like its title; that same Morning Becomes Eclectic session also gives up the pretty terrific noise-pop "Destroy Mater Dei" and the heaping mess of "Maybe Maybe." All this extra material may not carry the same deliberate weight as so much of Brighten the Corners, but it enhances the album considerably, bringing it closer to an album that can stand with Pavement's first three classics. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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