Pavement are the epitome of '90s indie/alternative rock. Granted, I didn't know who they were until the mid-2000s and it took me even longer to finally get into them, but once everything finally clicked I couldn't get enough of them. And even though Pavement are no longer a band (despite their brief reunion in 2010, in which I was fortunate enough to catch one of their live shows), frontman Stephen Malkmus has been releasing rock solid solo albums since 2001 (his latest, Wig Out at Jagbags, was released earlier this year).
"Stereo" is the first track off Brighten The Corners, an album that is rightfully overshadowed by its superior predecessors, but still an excellent album in its own right. The song begins with a quirky-as-hell bass line and some fuzzed out guitar notes. Enter Malkmus's trademark I'm-too-cool-to-sound-like-I'm-trying vocals and we're off. The almost off-key vocal melody clashes with the idiosyncratic bass line in such an unconventional way that it creates a dissonant bliss that shouldn't work, but leave it to Pavement to figure out how to make it work. And then we have my all time favorite Malkmus lyric, "What about the voice of Geddy Lee?/How did it get so high?/I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy?/I know him, and he does!". Perhaps it's my favorite due to my overwhelming love for Rush and the fact that I "get it", or maybe it's just that this lyric perfectly encompasses the sarcastic humor found throughout Pavement's and Malkmus's entire discographies.
Everything I love about Pavement is contained within this three-minute rocker. It's peculiar, it's hard rockin', and it's damn funny.