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Brighten The Corners

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Brighten The Corners + Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 3 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Matador Records
  • ASIN: B00000JHAR
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #200,816 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Stereo
2. Shady Lane
3. Transport Is Arranged
4. Date With IKEA
5. Old To Begin
6. Type Slowly
7. Embassy Row
8. Blue Hawaiian
9. We Are Underused
10. Passat Dream
11. Starlings Of The Slipstream
12. Fin

Product Description

Brighten the Corners is mature but wise-assed, melodic but complex — it's a record that reveals its gifts gradually, giving you enough information the first time to make you want come back for more. At first, the dissonant singsong verse of "Stereo" seems awkward, but it's all pulled into perspective with the gleeful, addictive outburst of the chorus, and that is a microcosm of the album's appeal. The first time around, the winding melody of "Shady Lane," the psycho jangle pop of "Date With Ikea," the epic grace of "Type Slowly," and the speedy rush of "Embassy Row" make an impression, but repeated listens reveal sonic and lyrical details that make them indelible.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Jan. 11 2009
Format: Audio CD
"Brighten the Corners" remains Pavement's most settled, accessable rock record, straddling the divide between their cleaner early sound, and the more out-there later work.

But being a transition work doesn't mean that the band eschews their musical sound or their indie roots. Rather, they just polish up the howly vocals and multilayered musical arrangements, and the result is pretty mellow and pleasant -- and while the original album is excellent, the "Nicene Creedence Edition" is a small treasure trove for fans.

It starts off with the intermittently bombastic "Stereo" ("Pigs, they tend to wiggle when they walk/The infrastructure rots/And the owners hate the jocks/With their agents and their dates") before shifting to the mellower "Shady Lane" and uplifted sound of "Transport is Arranged."

A more raw sound enters with the fun rockers "Date with IKEA" and lighthearted "Embassy Road," while a plaintive confusion arrives with "Old to Begin." The remaining songs harken back to their indie roots, with the monotone jazziness of "Blue Hawaiian" and the weirdness of "We Are Underused" and "Passat Dream." It ends on a pretty strong note with the vaguely ominous "Fin," in which Malkmus requests, "I trust you will tell me/if I am making a fool of myself..."

And the "Nicene Creedence Edition" adds plenty of extra stuff to the original -- for instance, thirty-two B-sides. It's obvious why some of them were cut (the jostling, intermittently good "Winner of the"), but several are also solid second-level Pavement songs (the tight, jangly "Roll With the Wind," the kooky Beatlesesque "Birds in the Majic Industry").
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By Carl Ryan on Sept. 17 2003
Format: Audio CD
The most accessible Pavement album full of melody but still has that quirkiness that we all love so much. If you are new to Pavement this is where to start - it is where I did and this is still my favourite to this day (next try Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain).
I can't believe how many people say that this album is Pavement's weakest. I have all of their album's (except for Wowee Zowee - too weird for me) and this is the one that shines above the rest - and that is a huge call. It echoes the melodic genius that appear in Crooked Rain eg Gold Soundz and Cut Your Hair.
You know that feeling you get in your stomach when you hear music that really moves you - this whole album does it for me. The whole album is consistent and must be listened to and appreciated as a whole from the rocking Stereo through to the rip snorting guitar solo finale on Fin - this album is a must have for any rock music fan.
It is a work of a musical genius/s. Buy it now - you won't regret it.
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Format: LP Record Verified Purchase
Product arrived in excellent condition. Tiniest bit of damage on one edge, but no real complaints. As for the collection...the packaging, artwork , and quality of the vinyl are all truly top-notch. I highly recommend this edition to any Pavement fans, heck, even non Pavement fans. Truly a beautiful album!
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By robert mountjoy on Oct. 23 2014
Format: LP Record Verified Purchase
Great tracks included here!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 70 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Good Value, Lousy Mastering Dec 27 2008
By jomojomo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I don't know why other reviewers think this sounds good, there is clipping, distortion, and hyper compression. In short, there are all the tell tale signs of loud mastering (see "loudness war" at wikipedia). For those that don't know, most pop rock offerings today try to be as loud as possible so that they will not be out volumed during ipod shuffle play. They do this by making the average volume approach peak volume. This means whispers become as loud as shouts. The end result is degraded sound quality and if you listen to the 1997 version alongside this one on a decent stereo or decent set of headphones, matching the volume levels, you will notice the difference. The new one lacks punch, has poor sounding cymbal crashes, no dynamics, and intermittent distortion. Overall, a poor job of mastering, but it's a good 40% louder than the 1997 version. So if you're thinking of buying this because you want the best sounding version of BTC, don't.

However, there are quite a few extras that are worth listening too, especially if you were lucky enough to score the edition that came with the live LP. I received two discs and one LP for 19.99, great deal. And if you are a long term fan this set is really something you should pick up. The booklet is 60+ pages and contains a few written pieces and lots of great pictures. The quality of the printing and paper isn't up to the previous standards of the last three sets, but compared to what one usually gets with remasters, it's great. The bonus material includes alternate mixes and versions, bbc live in studio material, b-sides, compilation tracks, and outtakes. The extra material is not as strong as say the Slanted & Enchanted luxe & redux stuff, but it is still worth while.

So five stars for the set and 1.5 stars for the mastering = 3.25 overall.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Greatness Dec 9 2008
By Anaximander - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If you are a big Pavement fan, you should definately pick up this one. The price is good, the extras plentiful and the remastered sound excellent. If you are new to Pavement and don't own it yet, then buy this expanded edition immediately! The original album has aged very well. From the opener Stereo to closer Fin, it may be their most consistent effort, though not necessarily their most brilliant. It is sort of like a refined version of Wowee Zowee with the most difficult and sloppy parts removed, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective. Either way, I love it for the quality of the melodies, the guitar parts, and the hilarious non-sensical lyrics. The extra songs on this expanded version are hit and miss as is to be expected, but they put this album in its proper context and actually improve the overall impact of the album. I'm not a Pavement B-sides collector so I'd never heard the extra tunes before - taken as a whole the extra songs seem more light-hearted and upbeat than the somewhat deliberate and mellow songs on the original album. There are many good ones here, including Roll With the Wind, And then (the Hexx), Slowly Typed (coutryfied version), No Tan Lines, and the Killing Moon, among others. In short, Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Edition is an example of how delux reissues should be done.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
How to conquer suburbia Nov. 16 2004
By P. Opus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I tend to think of both "Crooked Rain" and this disc as "suburban," but in opposite ways. "Crooked Rain" is largely about growing up in a suburb, feeling out-of-place amongst the daily scramble, and ultimately finding shelter in some kind of escape (although "Fillmore Jive" shows that rock n roll isn't necessarily the answer either). This one seems to be about returning to the suburbs as an adult, and coming to terms with it even if it isn't ideal. There are interesting cultural references in these songs which make it clear what Malkmus had on his mind or was observing at this time- see song titles like "Date with Ikea" (trendy budget furniture) and "Passat Dream" (trendy budget car).

I find myself reaching for this one first when I delve into my Pavement collection. It's subdued and textured, much less raw than the earlier work, and the songs all meld together into what feels like a story. It's about shady lanes and all that, but it's definitely not McCartney's first solo disc (famed for its feeling of "domestic bliss"). Malkmus is still critical of his surroundings, he's just found a way to come to terms with them. A very unique record and, like all of Pavement's work, necessary for a real understanding of 1990s rock n roll.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
an old family favorite... Jan. 13 2009
By McSpunkle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I admit, when Brighten The Corners first came out, I didn't really dig it that much. Wowie Zowie had embedded itsself into my brain (I still consider it their masterpiece- although a very psychotic masterpiece) and I guess I wanted more of that Pavement. Instead it consisted of more fully realized songs, shinier production and most of it pretty mellow. Sure, I liked certain cuts, but I put it away for a long time. Of course I eventually realized its greatness. What's wrong with mellow?

If you're checking out this reissue, you probably know the album, so I'll get to the extras (32 of 'em!). First off, the original album has only twelve songs but they recorded about twice as many. Some were released as b-sides, including "Harness Your Hopes" and "No Tan Lines" which are a few of Pavements best songs, though they never made it to an album (along with "Unseen Power Of The Picket Fence" which can be found on the Crooked Rain reissue). "Wanna Mess You Around" is a stab of garage punk which would sit nicely next to "Serpentine Pad".

Some of the stuff that didn't make the cut has never been released, like an early creeping version of "The Hexx" and psychedelic instrumental "Beautiful As A Butterfly", had all of these been included on Brighten The Corners, it would have been a completely different beast, more akin to their earlier more chaotic sound.

Disc two features the best radio sessions I've heard from Pavement (they get quite zany), including their excellent cover of "The Killing Moon", a cover of Faust's "It's A Rainy Day Sunshine Girl" and a crazy version of "Grave Architecture" with some hilarious backing vocals by (I'm guessing) Bob Nastanovich. "Chevy" is a trippier version of "Old To Begin" that sounds like Malkmus either hadn't written the lyrics yet, or forgot every one of 'em and made up new ones on the spot.

A few other oddities included are their tribute to The Clean ("Oddity"), an extended live version of "Type Slowly" (with a kind of The Doors' "The End" guitar thing going on) that makes me really appreciate a song I never cared much for, and their performances from Space Ghost Coast To Coast from 1997 (throughout the episode Space Ghost only refers to them as The Beatles).

I'd say of all the Pavement deluxe editions so far, this one has the best extras. Even the most diehard Pavement freak probably hasn't heard all of these tracks. The original album I'd probably give three & a half stars, the extras push it to five.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
i don't care what anyone says- it rocks! May 9 2001
By "amelt" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
what can i say- i love pavement. suffice to say, i didn't really get into them until this album. there is not a bad song to its name, and i find myself singing malkmus' cryptic lyrics from this album more than from any of his others. and if you at least don't find a special place in your heart for "shady lane"- well, then, you're even too cynical for me. stephen malkmus continues to be one of my absolute favorites- even sans pavement with his solo career. he's a genius in the best possible way, and lets you feel like you're in on the joke, too.