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Stephen Malkmus - Face The Truth (Cover Artwork)

Stephen Malkmus

Stephen Malkmus: Face The TruthFace The Truth (2005)
Matador Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


Contributed by: MarlonMarlon
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I never really liked Pavement. Sure, I'd always feign appreciation for them for fear of losing face in front of my peers (the other music snobs), but the truth is they didn't ever impress me. Their sound just felt too disjointed, their lyrics didn't feel original or earnest or insightful, and I can .
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I never really liked Pavement. Sure, I'd always feign appreciation for them for fear of losing face in front of my peers (the other music snobs), but the truth is they didn't ever impress me. Their sound just felt too disjointed, their lyrics didn't feel original or earnest or insightful, and I can vaguely remember on my first listen thinking that the singer sounded like an irritating variation of Travis Morrison. Of course, now I know that that singer was Stephen Malkmus‚?¶and that by a large part of the indie community, he's seen as a genius. So I briefly thought about how much better Elliott Smith albums were than Smith's first band Heatmiser‚?¶and I decided a chance for redemption was in order.

Malkmus' third solo album Face The Truth certainly isn't quite on the level of anything Elliott Smith (or really even in the same area of sound), but quality, it certainly is. Apparently, since Pavement disbanded and the time after his other solo releases Malkmus made a very important discovery: the synthesizer. Imagine my surprise when instead of softly plucked guitar chords I was greeted with a bouncy piano synth and a crashing, mechanical drum roll.

But don't pout and moan just yet; Malkmus hasn't converted all the way over to synth-pop. He still manages to throw a number of folk instruments (guitar, sitar, banjo and God knows what else‚?¶) into the mix. The diversity with the range of sounds gives us energized, danceable synth / electric guitar-mixed songs like the opener "Pencil Rot" and more deliberate tunes like "It Kills" and "Post-Paint Boy." While many artists before him relied on the traditional instruments on their solo releases, Malkmus' almost excessive use of the synthesizer makes Face The Truth all the more exciting.

Malkmus hasn't matured much lyrically since his Pavement days (surprising considering he's a father now) but this time around his boyish charms shine through. Face The Truth will have you admiring the orchestration just as much as it will have you admiring Malkmus' sometimes asinine delivery and his way with words. It's far from an instant classic (there's a few drag-along tracks in the middle of the disc), but if you've been following Malkmus throughout his career in music, chances are you'll dig Face The Truth too.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (July 11, 2005)

what dude..fuck that..rattle by the rush...fucking pueblo and summer babe...douche bags!

Anonymous (July 11, 2005)

Crooked Rain Crooked Rain was the first 'underground' album I ever got. It was a vague reccommendation that I bought into. At first it seemed like a mess... then, after some time, the album began to feel like a home of sound. I listen to it monthly still, just to recall how I could fall in love with new sounds.
It's great finding something that makes you just want to buy music like crazy because how it can surprise you so much...

Anonymous (July 10, 2005)

the new silver jews album that leaked today is the greatest thing i've ever heard.

Anonymous (July 10, 2005)

this cover is pretty similar to crimes. Even the font.

Anonymous (July 10, 2005)

slanted and enchanted. thats the only pavement lp you will ever need. Crooked Rain.. is when the country influences started creeping in, which brought on their decline.

Anonymous (July 10, 2005)

The Silver Jews are better.

Anonymous (July 9, 2005)

"Score is for reviewers who have to defend their review and end up unneccesarily posting half of the messages in the topic."

i kinda dont mind that. i actually like it

theevilmonkey (July 9, 2005)

Score is for reviewers who have to defend their review and end up unneccesarily posting half of the messages in the topic.

Anonymous (July 9, 2005)

i like pavement.
i like stephem malkmus.
i love this album.

slippy (July 9, 2005)

"There's my rambling. Enjoy! Point in full: Let's go back to the days when this site reviewed mostly punk albums with some spare room for indy, metal or whatever, and when people actually had personality."

I'd much rather have a diverse website where different types of people come together because they all enjoy this community.

lou (July 9, 2005)

"Alternatively, just let punk die."

you hit the nail on the head!

but all kidding aside, the comment below is a point often made on the board (though it usually sounds more like "fuck this shit. where's the new *insert name of shitty crust punk band here*")

to answer your first complaint, it seems the site has outgrown the limited scope of its title. there's enough CDs coming out (and people willing to review them) that are probably related to this "punk" you speak of by six degrees of seperation.

my suggestion to you would be to start your own website, review only "punk" albums and other albums that have been reviewed 10 and 15 years ago, and see if you have the same success as PN. i know it's not all about success, but the staff guys started this site with their own money and reviewed the music they like. they have no obligation to any of us. their .com is not a binding contract or anything.

and if you want pretention go read a review at pitchfork.

just my thoughts on the subject (at 5am).

im-dead (July 9, 2005)

I have never heard of this group/person before. I guess i'm ignorant. Hence, i cannot comment on this album.
However...I do have some general comments to make.

First of all, and i'm sure this has been asked frequently: Why is the ratio of nonpunk to punk cd reviews on this site, (being punknews.org and all) greater than 2:1?

Secondly, can some of the nonpunk albums reviews be sent to some other website or simply destroyed. That would be nice. They could be replaced by reviews of albums that are actually punk (let me just remind you of this sites name again .punknews.org.). Would it be too much to ask if some more classic or "old school" punk cd reviews could get written .slash. posted every now and then. That would be a good solution if there weren't quite enough reviews to be posted on the, erm, posting day.

Now, i've got no problem with this "Stephen Malkums" fellow, nor do i have a problem with any other group .slash. singer that fits into the same catergory of music as him (whatever that may be), but i would aprreciate if there were some more punk album reviews. Now i'm starting to sound redundant, so I'm gonna drop this subject.......now.

Another question i have to ask is why is it that the vast majority of people on this website are so pretentious? What, with all the big words in the reviews to make you look smarter and the countless holier than thou arguments...And of course, the never ending quest for internet popularity.

There's my rambling. Enjoy! Point in full: Let's go back to the days when this site reviewed mostly punk albums with some spare room for indy, metal or whatever, and when people actually had personality.

Alternatively, just let punk die.

Anonymous (July 8, 2005)

roger maris maybe?

Marlon (July 8, 2005)

Who's Maris the Great?

Marlon (July 8, 2005)

I never claimed to know everything, why take the energy to disproving and dissmissing something I wrote? Seems kind of bitter...

That entire sentence came from something I read about Malkmus when I first got the CD (awhile ago)... I can't remember where it came from but it talked about Malkmus' lyrics when he was young and Face the Truth sort of being a return to his early Pavement form. I felt weird not mentioning the lyric writing so I mentioned that. That's where the whole fucking thing came from.

I think I was trying to say his lyrics didn't change much, I wasn't trying to call him immature. You should see my song lyrics... Those are immature.

rkl (July 8, 2005)

im not even a pavement fan, honestly. i dont enjoy the style of the music, but any insinuation of malkmus' lyrics being juvenile shows a staggering amount of ignorance.

Marlon (July 8, 2005)

All the Pavement listening suggestions are noted guys.

stevejonestherealbones (July 8, 2005)

damn. that didnt let me repeat "i like short reviews" and i only typed it 3 more times. oh well

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

stevejonestherealbones (July 8, 2005)

i might check this out. maybe. i like the pavement i have heard...and they were guests on Space Ghost Coast to Coast so that makes them fairly awesome

anyway...this would be a perfect review if it started at "Apparently, since Pavement disbanded...." and skipped the sentence about lyrical maturity...and went on to the end. nice and short

as we all know

i like short reviews

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

- score is for SGC2C

Anonymous (July 8, 2005)

The New Lows Rock. www.thenewlows.net

Anonymous (July 8, 2005)

Marlon, give Crooked Rain Crooked Rain a try. Slanted and Enchanted barely sounds like the rest of their discography and personally I don't think it's all that it's cracked up to be. Crooked Rain is usually thought to be the best start

Marlon (July 8, 2005)

Then I'll be sure to be a prick to you for illigetimate reasons, ya know... just to return the favor asshat.

rkl (July 8, 2005)

Im in queue, pal.

Anonymous (July 8, 2005)

Ummm best pavement song(s)?
Gold soundz
Date with ikea
Carrot rope
Greenlander
Spit on a stranger
many..many others.

----Travis.

Marlon (July 8, 2005)

Favorite Albums Reviewed by rkl
No Reviews Published Yet

Anonymous (July 8, 2005)

Listen Marlon, if you wanna give Pavement a try for real, "Wowee Zowee" is where it is at. By far the best Pavement album, which is closely followed By "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain." Give those two albums a try. I got them years and years and years ago, and I thought much like you did, until one day....they just blew my mind. Really, Pavement was way ahead of their time.

It's the year of the reunion....time for Pavement perhaps?

Jim

rkl (July 8, 2005)

can we please mark all reviews by marlon with a special character, so i know to not even bother reading them?

Anonymous (July 8, 2005)

Marion, sorry if my original post was a little to aggressive. Probably because I saw Cindrealla Man yesterday, and needed to balance out my feel good mood

I encourage you to listen to more Pavement, I would suggest either "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain" or "Brighten the Corners"

Also, Ryan Adams was the lead singer of Whiskeytown.

I think my original points are valid, but then again your not a journalist, so I apoligize for being harsh.

May your writing days continue

- Pavement Fan (Greg)

Anonymous (July 8, 2005)

" Now I'm going to betray you!" - what are you, 12? an AFI fan?

Inspection12e (July 8, 2005)

I paused my Decemberists to listen to some mp3s of this. Wasn't worth my time. Now I'm going to betray you!

Anonymous (July 8, 2005)

seriously, who cares if you like pavement or not? who cares if you're a music snob? you know who? nobody. fuck.

opivykid (July 8, 2005)

I miss Pavement....

Vote for best Pavement song? I'd say either 'Newark Wilder', or 'Greenlander'.

Anonymous (July 8, 2005)

ehh... Pavement was better.

Marlon (July 8, 2005)

Yeah, I did.

slippy (July 8, 2005)

"Your writing days are over, reviewer."

Did anyone else laugh really hard when they read that?

MarkieStabone (July 8, 2005)

yeah, reviewing something as loaded as stephen malkmus is just asking to get your head bitten off! i learned my lesson after i wrote a review of pig lib for the my school's indie paper.

Marlon (July 8, 2005)

Word. Point taken Markie. I'd also like to point that now I kinda wish I'd just reviewed another album nobody cared about.

MarkieStabone (July 8, 2005)

this review isn't that bad guys, and this is coming from a diehard pavement fan.

a few things i would like to point out:
malkmus was already on the synth as of his last solo album "pig lib." in fact, malk jicks was a trio for the first solo album but included a fourth keyboard player as a permanent member for "pig lib."

steve's lyrics are far from immature. i'll agree that they are abstract at times, but the man's strength lies in his way with words. my assumption is that if you listened to more pavement albums, you would recognize this.

by no means am i saying that you must be a pavement expert to say anything about malkojicks, but if you really do appreciate this album, i would highly recommend listening to some of the later pavement albums. especially terror twilight, an album that really bridges the gap between older pavement styles and the new, poppier stevejix era.

anyways, face the truth is a pretty spectacular album, i'm glad to see that he's still got it after all these years. now, if only i had gotten to see him on one of his rare shows supporting it!

word i'm out

Marlon (July 8, 2005)

Again... calling myself naive for not liking Pavement when I first heard them and there was no way to write a Stephen Malkmus review and just not mention Pavement whether you're a huge fan or someone who knows little to nothing about them (like me).

Anonymous (July 8, 2005)

woah, i didn't think the review was all that bad. this album is also pretty great. you kids need to calm down.

-pavement fan #92

Anonymous (July 8, 2005)

no mention of malkmus' amazing guitar work on this album? maybe you should have listened to it more than once before reviewing it.

also if slanted and enchanted is the only pavement album you've heard and they have around 5 or 6 others maybe you shouldn't quickly dismiss them either.

i just saw malkmus and the jicks at irving plaza and they were fucking great.

pavement fan #2

Anonymous (July 8, 2005)

I miss pavement...
I miss sebadoh..
I miss the replacements & husker du..

No clue where im going with this.

-----Travis.

Anonymous (July 8, 2005)

"Malkamus and Smith, have nothing to with with each other, nothing. You know Ryan Adams stuff isn't as good as his stuff with Heatmister, kinda how Malkmus's stuff isn't as good as Pavement....so what does that have to do with anything either!"

Ryan Adams wasn't in Heatmieser, Elliott Smith was. Ryan Adams was in Whiskeytown.

ghostmonkey (July 8, 2005)

this review fucking stinks. what the hell are you on about? heres a tip - if you are gonna write about pavement, try actually hearing them you fucktard. And what the fuck is all that Elliot Smith crap? I D I O T.

Marlon (July 8, 2005)

It sounds like this:

"Malkmus made a very important discovery: the synthesizer. Imagine my surprise when instead of softly plucked guitar chords I was greeted with a bouncy piano synth and a crashing, mechanical drum roll.

But don‚??t pout and moan just yet; Malkmus hasn‚??t converted all the way over to synth-pop. He still manages to throw a number of folk instruments (guitar, sitar, banjo and God knows what else‚?¶) into the mix. The diversity with the range of sounds gives us energized, danceable synth / electric guitar-mixed songs like the opener ‚??Pencil Rot‚?Ě and more deliberate tunes like ‚??It Kills‚?Ě and ‚??Post-Paint Boy.‚?Ě While many artists before him relied on the traditional instruments on their solo releases, Malkmus‚?? almost excessive use of the synthesizer makes Face The Truth all the more exciting. "

Also, fuck you. You've annoyed me.

Marlon (July 8, 2005)

To angry irrational Pavment fan:

I tried my very best to pay respect to Pavement while admitting that I just couldn't get into it, I never said Pavement was not good I merely said the reasons I didn't like it when I first heard it... I mean I'm basically calling myself naive... you can choose to see that if you want. Elliott Smith is referenced because I thought of him when when I debated picking up the CD... like it says in the review. And as for my reviewing days... last I checked you didn't have a lock on my keyboard.

The disc sounds like what I said most solo albums with a lot of synth pop.

Marlon (July 8, 2005)

Slanted and Enchanted Reissue

Anonymous (July 8, 2005)

To the below guy, you should write your own review. I'd prefer to hear a review from a pavement fan, but this reviewer's outlook is apreciated still.

To the reviewer, how much Pavement have you heard?

Anonymous (July 8, 2005)

Horrible Review

A) For this reviewer to write - "Malkmus hasn‚??t matured much lyrically since his Pavement days (surprising considering he‚??s a father now) but this time around his boyish charms shine through".

Malkmus is famous for this lyricial imagery and use of repetition, and that is what part of his boyish charm (whatever that means exactly), is!

B) What is with the little jab - "Malkmus‚?? third solo album Face The Truth certainly isn‚??t quite on the level of anything Elliott Smith (or really even in the same area of sound), but quality, it certainly is"

Malkamus and Smith, have nothing to with with each other, nothing. You know Ryan Adams stuff isn't as good as his stuff with Heatmister, kinda how Malkmus's stuff isn't as good as Pavement....so what does that have to do with anything either!

C) This review is so short, so stupid and so repulsive. I learned nothing about what the cd sounds like, it doesn't give me any idea of what Pavement sounded like, other than that the reviewer doesn't appreciate the band and apparently thinks Elliott Smith needs to be included in this review

Your writing days are over, reviewer.

- Pavement fan.

LevitateMe (July 8, 2005)

This record rules. It's the best thing he's done since Terror Twilight

lou (July 8, 2005)

whoa. this review was first on the list when i started reading it. they're being posted as i speak. i guess a "FIRST" is appropriate.

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