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Face the Truth

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iTunes Review

As the frontman for Pavement, Stephen Malkmus acted casually, tossing off random asides as poetry and amusing himself while the band deconstructed behind him. As a solo act, he still amuses himself, first and foremost, but he’s also taken control of the arrangements. While the Jicks may be his touring band, in the studio, it’s Malkmus at the instruments and controls which leads to tighter arrangements. Guitars still meander around the melodies and abrupt keyboards and shadings emerge, but it’s with an allegiance towards supporting not tearing down the song. The electric bounce of “Pencil Rot,” the buzzing flow of “It Kills,” the fast talking groove of “I’ve Hardly Been” feature Malkmus at his most playful, singing in falsetto, adding little melodic twists in the breaks, and sounding like a man on a mission to ad-lib his way through life. “Freeze the Saints,” with its warm harmonies and twinkling piano notes, is the closest Malkmus comes to lite-FM. (The drums kick too hard and there are layers of grime underneath the well-manicured façade.) The eight-minute “No More Shoes” gives room for his inner guitar hero to shine. He’s not just a clever lyricist, but a man of strong musical design.

Customer Reviews

13 Ways of Looking at 'Face the Truth'

1. Some truly beautiful moments on this record: "Scraps of acceptance from coked-up quasi-urbane kids" -- from the great "Post-Paint Boy" being one of the lovliest things ever sung. The line supposedly refers to the response that the "post-paint boy" of the title -- an artist forced to teach -- gets from his students. Who doubts that this is Malk's ars poetica -- meaning it's also about him? The song describes the art world but also a Pavement-Jicks concert... 2. Some of the songs are like inferior versions of Pig-Lib songs: "It Kills," "No More Shoes." 3. It's about death and trying not to avoid everything difficult and sincere. "Malediction" makes me think Malk's in therapy. 4. This isn't my favorite record by Malk. Sorry. And I really love what he does. 5. The cover is cool. 6. Walking the Palms Blvd. 405 overpass to "Baby C'mon," something clicks... 7. "Freeze the Saints" is lovely. 8. Ironic sincerity, or sincere irony? 9. Could use more tuba. 10. Among 10,000 lousy records, the voice of the Malkmus bird. 11. Wallace Stevens would dismiss this and all other shoddy pastiches of his great poem as a waste of time. 12. "At the yoga Olympics, killed by a single kick" also a line that deserves mention. 13. The beautiful moments here are better than the songs or the album as a whole.

Facing the Truth?

This might be the ex-Pavement frontman's third solo album, but unlike its predecessors, it shows the first signs of him finally breaking ties from his old band and forming his own sound. The riffs are all in order, his vocals are top-notch. The heart-jolting "Pencil Rot" makes his impeccable style noticable immediately, but before you get too discouraged about his descent into senility, "It Kills" brings you back to Pig Lib proportions. He slowly works his way back up the "crazy" ladder, however - and finds his pinnacle in the masterwork "No More Shoes." It has been too long since I've heard a guitar solo like this. The rest of the album is plainly his own, and it lavishes in that fact. This is truly his first solo work. And it is all too satisfying.

Face the truth more like face the awesome

I like this album a lot. In all seriousness Pencil Rot sounds like ether switch but cooler and Freeze the Saints and Post Paint Boy are two of Malks greatest tunes. I think there are a lot of grreat moments, not two r's in great tony the tiger style


Born: May 30, 1966 in Santa Monica, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

After Pavement announced they were going on hiatus at the end of 1999, the status of one of America's finest indie rock bands was a mystery for the first half of 2000. It became clearer that summer, however, when it was revealed that both singer/songwriter/guitarists Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg were preparing solo albums. Malkmus was particularly busy during that time, performing new songs with Kim's Bedroom -- a one-off group that also included Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and Jim O'Rourke --...
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