Wednesday, November 21, 2007

How the Mighty Fell


Pavement
Terror Twilight
1999

There’s a moment in Lance Bangs’ introspective Pavement documentary “Slow Century” where a band member (I believe it was Malkmus) states that he doesn’t want the then-upcoming album, Terror Twilight, to be the band’s undoing. He’s specifically referring to the decision to hire Nigel Godrich (of OK, Computer fame) to produce the album. Watching the DVD gives one the feeling that Pavement was on life support at the time of the recording anyway, so Terror Twilight can’t be said to have fired the fatal bullet. However, it sure as fuck did not call the ambulance.

Honestly, it’s 11-tracks of Malkmus masturbating into my stereo speakers. It’s a terrible swan song for what was a great band in lush 24-track sound, like a gilded pile of excrement. Gone are the noisy anthems of Slanted and Enchanted. Gone is the clever wordplay and layered guitar work of Crooked Rain and Brighten the Corners. Gone is the sheer brilliance of Wowee Zowee. Take all that away and you’re left with very little. I picture a half-smirk on the band’s faces during recording, as if they knew it was crap and they went ahead and released it anyway. Toothpaste Jones said there would be negative reviews, and I couldn’t think of any better place to start than here. (Bonus fun: check this sloppy blowjob of a Pitchfork review, especially the final paragraph)

3 comments:

jonathan said...

I hated Terror Twilight when it first came out; it sounded lazy, malformed, sleepy and soft - none of the energy or wit of prime Pavement, none of the joy.

Then, guess what, I listened to it more. What do I think of it now? I think it's a work of absolute, finely-wrought genius - the songs are half-formed and built from jams, but the emotional tug of stuff like 'Ann Don't Cry' is immense. Some of the best songs of Malkmus's career are on that record, without a doubt.

Keep listening - I hated it once. I was wrong.

Cangrejero said...

I will do just that.

I've been thinking that for albums which came out in our lifetime, maybe we should do a now/then style rating? As in I gave it x/10 in 1999 and y/10 in 2007?

Although I will say for this one, I really really wanted to like it.

Toothpaste Jones said...

my favorite pavement song was the b-side for spit on a stranger, "roll with the wind" Pavement sound strangely energized. maybe more into it than I've ever heard them before. just sayin'.