Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Pavement: Brighten the Corners [Matador, 1997]
Mature or die is the whole of the law. So of course there's no longer much insurgency in their ill-mannered sounds, now deployed to serenade a self-sustaining subculture and celebrate a band's collective success. Moderate tempos that once breathed psychedelic wooze turn reflective if not thoughtful as lyrics reference the material emoluments of middle-class life. Yet it's still exciting, because it isn't dragged under by the nagging disappointments that generally dull such music (and security). As convinced ironists, Pavement never expected anything else. Closure is a chimera--they'll drink to that. Onetime insurgent Thelonious Monk--they'll drink to him, too. A man known for his brilliant corners. A