Pavement is an American indie rock band formed in Stockton, California, in 1989. They are widely regarded as one of the most influential bands of the 90s and their unique sound has inspired countless other artists. Pavement’s music is characterized by its raw, lo-fi sound, witty lyrics, and eclectic blend of styles, ranging from classic rock to experimental noise.
Over the course of their career, they released five critically acclaimed albums, before disbanding in 1999. Despite their relatively short lifespan, the band has left an indelible mark on the indie rock scene and their music continues to be celebrated by fans and critics alike. In this list, we’ll take a look at the 10 best Pavement songs of all time, showcasing the band’s impressive range of styles and songwriting prowess.
1. Gold Soundz
“Gold Soundz” is a popular song by the American indie rock band Pavement, released in 1994. It is a catchy and upbeat track with infectious guitar riffs and sing-along chorus that have made it a staple of alternative rock radio. The song’s lyrics are cryptic, as is typical of Pavement’s style, but they are widely interpreted to be about the end of a romantic relationship.
2. Range Life
“Range Life” is a classic Pavement song from their critically acclaimed album “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain”. The song features a jangly guitar riff and the distinctive slacker vocals of Stephen Malkmus. The lyrics contain playful jabs at fellow musicians such as the Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots, and reflect the band’s disdain for mainstream success. The song’s catchy melody and irreverent humor make it a fan favorite and a standout track in Pavement’s catalog.
3. Cut Your Hair
“Cut Your Hair” is a catchy and upbeat indie rock song by Pavement, released in 1994. The song features jangly guitars, a driving drumbeat, and a sing-along chorus that is hard to resist. The lyrics are somewhat enigmatic, but seem to be a commentary on the music industry and the pressure to conform to certain standards of appearance and behavior. The song became one of Pavement’s most well-known and popular tracks, and is often cited as a defining song of the ’90s indie rock movement.
4. Shady Lane
“Shady Lane” is a catchy and upbeat song by indie rock band Pavement, released on their 1997 album “Brighten the Corners”. The song features the band’s trademark lo-fi sound with jangly guitar riffs, quirky lyrics, and Stephen Malkmus’ distinctive vocals. The lyrics are cryptic and playful, with lines like “Can you see the world through a tiny opening?” and “My ashtray’s overflowing”. “Shady Lane” is a fan favorite and has become one of Pavement’s most popular songs, known for its infectious melody and memorable chorus.
“Stereo” is a song by the American indie rock band Pavement, released in 1997 as a single from their album “Brighten the Corners”. The song has a catchy and upbeat melody, featuring jangly guitars, dynamic drumming, and frontman Stephen Malkmus’ signature off-kilter lyrics. It has been praised for its clever wordplay and its satirical take on the music industry and the concept of selling out. The chorus, which repeats the line “What about the voice of Geddy Lee? How did it get so high? I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy” has become a fan favorite and a Pavement classic.
“Grounded” is a song by the American indie rock band Pavement, which was released in 1995 as a single and also included on the album “Wowee Zowee”. The song features a catchy, driving guitar riff and lyrics that are somewhat enigmatic and open to interpretation. Some have speculated that the song is a commentary on the excesses and pitfalls of fame and success, while others see it as a more general reflection on disillusionment and the search for meaning in life
7. Trigger Cut
“Trigger Cut” is a track from Pavement’s second album, “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.” It features the band’s signature lo-fi sound and off-kilter lyrics, with frontman Stephen Malkmus singing about the disorienting experience of returning home after a long time away. The song has a catchy guitar riff and playful, jangly instrumentation, showcasing the band’s knack for creating memorable indie rock hooks. It’s a quintessential example of the band’s unique blend of slacker rock, pop sensibilities, and experimental tendencies.
8. Summer Babe
“Summer Babe” is a standout track from Pavement’s debut album, “Slanted and Enchanted.” The song starts with a hazy guitar riff that sets the tone for the dreamy vocals that follow. The lyrics are poetic and abstract, evoking a sense of nostalgia and longing for a simpler time. The song features a catchy chorus that is both melancholic and uplifting, with the repeated line “Can you treat it like an oil well?” The instrumentation is lo-fi, with the guitars and drums adding to the overall fuzzy and raw feel of the track.
9. Spit on a Stranger
“Spit on a Stranger” is a track from Pavement’s fourth studio album, “Terror Twilight”. Released in 1999, the song features a slower, more relaxed tempo and gentle instrumentation, as compared to some of the band’s more raucous tracks. Lead singer Stephen Malkmus delivers introspective lyrics that touch on themes of nostalgia, regret, and the passage of time. The song’s chorus is particularly memorable, with Malkmus singing, “And the face that you saw in the door / Isn’t looking at you anymore / And you swear you have heard it before / Oh it’s not gonna happen again.
10. In the Mouth a Desert
“In the Mouth a Desert” is a song by the American indie rock band Pavement, released in 1992 as part of their debut album “Slanted and Enchanted”. The song features distorted guitar riffs and raw, lo-fi production characteristic of the band’s early work. The lyrics are surreal and abstract, with references to deserts, cockroaches, and mysterious “gods” who control the natural world. The song has been praised for its catchy melody and off-kilter charm, and is considered one of Pavement’s signature tracks.