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Pavement Albums Ranked in Order of Awesomeness

Pavement didn’t last long. A decade at most, with only five albums released within a seven-year span. But they made the most of that short time together, making and releasing a handful of records that rank among the ’90s’ very best.

Their recording career started with a trio of EPs released from 1989-91 which charted their fascination with both art-rock and modern music’s place within the bigger picture. As they evolved, so did their music and worldview, to the point where they analyzed and considered their own place within that structure, as you’ll see in our above list of Pavement Albums Ranked in Order of Awesomeness.

But like all great bands, Pavement rarely stayed in one place. Their 1992 debut album, Slanted and Enchanted, was more art project than rock ‘n’ roll record, but like the oddball artists who came before them — Captain Beefheart, Pere Ubu, Wire, the Fall, Sonic Youth — they shaped their noise into something that had its roots way back in the past. And the future, of course. Pavement always sounded several steps ahead of their contemporaries, even when they were sharing airwaves with them and dropping their names in songs.

And like all great bands, Pavement deliberately tore down their tower of achievement once they had a taste of mainstream success after scoring a modern-rock radio hit and appearing on The Tonight Show following the release of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain in 1994. Their next album, 1995’s Wowee Zowee, was so unstructured and baffling at times, it even alienated some older fans who were used to this sorta thing.

By the time of their final two albums, Pavement had settled into something close to accessibility, composing and recording songs rather than disorganized and often incoherent art projects. But even those great records sounded out of place with so much going on around them, as you’ll see in our list of Pavement Albums Ranked in Order of Awesomeness.

Next: Revisiting Pavement's 'Brighten the Corners'

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