Stephen Malkmus Face The Truth

[Matador; 2005]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: indie rock
Others: Pavement, Beck, Guided by Voices

Today I went out with the cutest boy in school's new album, Face the Truth. Now I'll be honest, things have always been great with Steve, but last time he took me out, it was with Pig Lib. Sure, we had some good times, but we never really connected. While I'm glad that Steve had made friends with these "Jicks" folks, I don't know if they were the best influence on him, egging him on to all sorts of prog-rock hot-doggery. Sometimes it felt like he was showing off instead of paying enough attention to the tunes. But I can't be too hard on Stevie... I mean, I have to think of all the good times. Regardless, I was a little worried that things would be a bit awkward after last time.

Well, when Face the Truth finally came by to pick me up, it took me quite by surprised. We usually start things off with some small talk over a nice pop tune, but he shows up with "Pencil Rot," more intimate, more personal, more passionate than I've heard him in years, literally sounding as if he is closer to the microphone, but also a bit rawer and uglier. While I'm glad Steve was finally ready to open up, even I could use some sweet-talking to start things off. Nonetheless, the tone was set, and we were really close all night. "Freeze the Saints" and "Post-Paint Kid" were little reminders of Steve's sweet side; "No More Shoes" proved he could rock-out for eight minutes without rambling; and "Kindling For the Master" showed off his goofy side. Really, though, the most fun I had was with songs that weren't complete departures from his catalog, yet still sounded like Malkmus misfits ("Mama," "Baby C'Mon," "It Kills," and "Malediction"). They reminded me that Steve is more mature, and that there's no reason change can't be great, especially now that he has brought the passion back.

I won't kiss and tell, but let's just say that Face the Truth won me over by showing all the sides of Steve that drew me to him in the first place, along with a few new surprises. While the highs might not be quite as mind-blowing as in the past, this time I know I can grow old with Steve.

1. Pencil Rot
2. It Kills
3. I've Hardly Been
4. Freeze the Saints
5. Loud Cloud Crowd
6. No More Shoes
7. Mama
8. Kindling for the Master
9. Post-Paint Boy
10. Baby C'mon
11. Malediction

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