Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Pavement: Slanted and Enchanted [Matador, 1992]
Though no outsider wants to believe it, they're not just the latest scruffy rumor. And though no insider wants to believe it, they're more well-schooled than inspired--skilled, gifted, of enduring artistic value, condensing a decade of indie thrashing about into a two-year recording career that takes off with their debut album. Always good at both tune and noise, they sacrifice you-know-what for you-know-what now that they're thinking about quitting their day jobs, and as you'd expect, the content is formal: noise doesn't give up without a fight, often it fights hard, sometimes it fights dirty, and tune digs where it's coming from. Yielding a message complex enough to offer hope that the lyrics--more bemused than enraged, more depressive than despairing--will catch up. A