Pavement was a massively influential indie rock band from Stockton, California. They put out five records in the 1990s, then went separate ways. Their debut record Slanted & Enchanted was released 20 years ago today. Many people consider that album to be not only the best record of that year, but in the top ten “alternative” records of the entire decade of the 90s. It’s also widely accepted as one of the most important records of the last 20 years irrespective of genre. Although Pavement would briefly enjoy mainstream pop radio success with the hit single “Cut Your Hair” from 1994’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, their defining record and their masterpiece is Slanted & Enchanted.
I wish I could say that I remember exactly where I was and who I was with when I first heard Slanted & Enchanted. Although it’s not exciting, it would be a safe assumption that I was in the radio station the first time. It’s also safe to assume that the first song I heard from that record was “Summer Babe”. That’s an excellent song, as are most songs on the record.
In 2002, for the 10th anniversary of the release of S & E, Matador Records re-issued the album as Slanted & Enchanted : Luxe & Reduxe. It’s a two cd set. Disc one is the original 14 songs (remastered) plus six bonus tracks from those sessions and a previously unreleased four-song John Peel BBC session. From all that, there are two alternate versions of today’s song. Disc two also contains 24 songs. The four-song Watery, Domestic EP, three bonus tracks from those sessions, a previously unreleased four-song Peel session, and a 13-song live set from a 1992 show in London.
Today’s song may not be as universally loved as “Summer Babe”, the big single from the record, but I love it just as much. Actually, I’m going to present two different versions of the song.
EDIT: The songs were removed due to a copyright claim
I prefer the Peel Session version. Louder. Full band-ish. And if my memory serves, in the recording of S & E, they hadn’t yet employed the “second drummer” thing. By the time they got to that Peel session, they had. Not only is the sound of that Peel Session bigger and fuller and fuzzier, it’s reminiscent of the concert experience. I was fortunate enough to have seen them three or four times, and it was always brilliant.
I was dressed for success
But success, it never comes
And I’m the only one who laughs
at your jokes when they are so bad
And your jokes are always bad
but they’re not as bad as this
I’ve always loved that set of lines. I’ll say that “I’m the only one who laughs” bit to people in random situations. Usually, it goes undetected.
If you don’t have S & E, you need to remedy that immediately. If have it, but don’t have the “Luxe and Reduxe” version, you need to remedy that immediately. It’s a good package on a pretty good budget. The sound of it is amazing. The booklet that comes with it is, if I’m honest, not that much fun. It also comes up a bit short compared to the commemorative anniversary reissues that are coming out these days. If there was a bonus DVD of videos and live stuff and whatnot, it would be phenomenal. Jesus & Mary Chain reissued their catalog last year, and they all came in 2CD + DVD packages, and they were all priced at something like $18. Those are phenomenal.