#tbt Pavement / Wowee Zowee (1995)

By Randy Nieto
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Label: Matador Records
Year: 1995

I have to say, I had a hard time choosing a Pavement record to do this throwback column on. I initially wanted to go with the compilation record Westing by Musket and Sextant, but being that it is technically not a real Pavement full length release, I opted to go with Wowee Zowee, which might be their strongest and most popular album. Released in the spring of 1995, Wowee Zowee epitomizes what Pavement would become known for in the early 90’s: slacker indie rock. And it’s true, they smoked a lot of weed during the making of this record.  Stephen Malkmus was even quoted as saying “I was smoking a lot of grass back then but to me they sounded like hits.” Hits indeed. There is a sense of irony that something as self deprecating as this statement can be so poignantly true. Most of the songs on this record do sound like hits, as most of their obtuse song structures, catchy melodies, and idiosynchratic lyrics lend themselves to being earworms that can last in your head for several weeks. Spanning genres from punk rock,  country, ballads, and jangly indie rock, the album somehow manages to coalesce beautifully, like a big middle finger to all the rock critics that say you need to stick to one sound. Their longest album by far (with the exception of Westing), every single song on this record rocks. Every. Single. One. Of course you are entitled to your own opinion, which might differ from mine and the thousands of other Pavement fans in this world, but do you really want to be on the other side? It’s much greener here. (no pun intended) Below is the first single from the album, “Rattled by the Rush“. Check it out and relive the 90’s, or maybe experience them for the first time. Either way it’s a win-win.

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