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Pig Lib

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Pig Lib
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Audio CD, March 18, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

His sophomore album embraces the classic rock ensemble featuring a delectable array of antecedents inform the music herein, from Irish prog-folk greats Mellow Candle to the Jazz inflected musings of Kevin Ayers and Lol Coxhill to some of the more outro moments on Pavements weirdest album, Wowee Zowee.

As an indie paragon since the early '90s, it's inevitable that Stephen Malkmus would want to make music that falls closer to traditional rock. His second solo album is the logical extension of those moments when Pavement cautiously approached the classic-rock canon, albeit from an oblique angle. Initially, it's hard-going for listeners. Where Malkmus's self-titled debut accentuated his flirtatious, pop-friendly inclinations, Pig Lib is gnarlier and more expansive. At times, it's uncharacteristically earnest, as if Malkmus was trying to defuse those usual jibes of archness with a sustained bout of jamming. Persevere, though, and Pig Lib's excellence is revealed. The two most obvious influences on spindly, febrile epics like "1% of One" and "Witch Mountain Bridge" are Television and Fairport Convention; Malkmus is particularly proficient at highlighting the affinities between New York art punk and British folk-rock through his notably improved guitar playing. Less rock-oriented souls, meanwhile, will be heartened by evidence of his continuing Ray Davies fetish on "Vanessa from Queens" and, especially, the "Waterloo Sunset"-styled "Craw Song." This is an album that, if lived with and nurtured, amply repays the kindness. --John Mulvey

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Water And A Seat 4:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Ramp Of Death 2:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. (Do Not Feed The) Oyster 4:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Vanessa From Queens 3:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Sheets 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Animal Midnight 5:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Dark Wave 2:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Witch Mountain Bridge 5:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Craw Song 2:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. 1% Of One 9:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Us 4:16$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 18, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Unknown
  • ASIN: B00008AY6B
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,834 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 2003
Format: Audio CD
...but there's something about SM's latest effort that just clicks. I was never into Pavement, just because there's so much other stuff out there, and I felt that theirs was just mediocre-to-good material. I listened to some samples of Malkmus' last solo album, but it just sounded one-dimensional, like he was trying to do one thing, but ended up doing another...and the material suffered.
Then, I heard "Vanessa From Queens" on Netscape Radio, and I was intrigued. I listened to a few samples on Amazon, and I must say, I couldn't place it, but I knew it was good. So, I bought it:
His refined-yet-fun indie-pop shows best on that track, "Vanessa From Queens". The rest is hard to label. There's no doubt about the psychadelic rock & jam-bands influence that is present in most of the non-pop tracks. One minute, he seems to be jamming like GD or Hot Tuna, the next, he's doing a refined imitation of Zappa (sans those flutes that I hated so much), and the next, he's Pavement again. The abrupt stops, followed by quick drum solos and oddly-placed classic-rock-esque guitar riffs, combined with the aforementioned psychadelic trend, certainly give the listener the feeling that this album could have been recorded in 1969 just as easily as 2002. The jam-band-esque rambling (evident on such tracks as "Witch Mountain Bridge") also give off that tone of free-spirited lack of structure that only jam bands and late 60's psych-rock have.
But, just as you think he's gone from Pavement to The String Cheese Incident, he pulls you back to his subtle structure, and never lets you forget that this ain't 1969, and he ain't Jerry.
It would almost seem like some kind of odd experiment in indie-rock/jamband fusion, if it weren't so seamlessly executed.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joe Halloran on February 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I bought this album when it came out about a year ago and I have enjoyed it consistantly ever since. I'm glad that I waited this long to review it beause I wanted to see how it aged. I'm listening to it as I write, and let me tell you it has aged with perfection. I didn't become a Pavement fan until they were past their prime, but when I eventually came around it was because of Malkmus' unique songwriting and vocals. I later appreciated the whole band more and I was disappointed that they broke up. I am no longer disappoinnted, because SM & the Jicks are a better band than Pavement was, and "Pig Lib" is their coming out party. If you know anything about SM then you probably know that he is kind of an intellectual hermit who likes to read highbrow novels such as "Independent People" by Haldor Laxness. This quality may turn some people off, but not me. I think it translates perfectly into his songwriting. The lyrics on "Pig Lib" are abstract mostly, and at times very humorous. The most straightforward song on the album is the clever and catchy "Craw Song" which is about a sexually confused love quadrangle. Musically, the album is pretty mellow for the most part, and features some very impressive lead guitar work by Malkmus that borders on prog-style jamming at times. The best example of this is the epic "1% of One", which clocks in at an impressive 9:11.
If you like guitar, this song will you have you drooling. The whole album sort of has a progressive feel to it. "Water and a Seat" is another example of this in which Malkmus lets his guitar do the talking for about the first minute of the song. The hopelessly catchy "(Do not feed the) Oyster" is the most outstanding track on the album. I found it very hard to get out of my head elven months ago and I still do now.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 11, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Pavement may be gone, but Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks are here -- and God willing, they're here to stay. Malkmus's second solo album irons out the assorted problems of the first, and puts his new non-Pavement music on its own unique turf. It's catchy, fun, complex, and may just be brilliant.
After the quirky folk-rock opener "Water And a Seat," we're treated to melodic rock songs ("Ramp of Death," "Sheets"), polished jam sessions (the exquisitely titled "Do Not Feed the Oyster," "1% of One"), smooth multifaceted pop ("Vanessa From Queens"), and some songs that defy description (the taut, fast, scrapy "Dark Wave").
"Pig Lib" takes the best of jamming and polished studio sound and forces them together. It's refined, but hasn't had the indie-rock sound sucked out of it. A mass of contradictions: it sounds natural and relaxed, both spontaneous and carefully crafted. At times it drops into jam-band turf, before sliding back into Pavement-like rock with complex guitar riffs and spurts of psychedelica.
Malkmus's voice both stands out and blends in. While it isn't drowned out by the music, the music seems like a natural backdrop for him, even if he seems like he's forcing the words out of his mouth. The guitars are fantastic, percussion is solid, and the lyrics are stellar (especially the who-wants-who lyrics. "I kiss and tell/and make life hell/you know what it's about..." -- how much better does it get?).
Stephen Malkmus is up there with Billy Corgan and Thom Yorke as musical geniuses, who can weave complicated and beautiful music time and time again. And "Pig Lib" is a modern masterpiece of sound. A must-have for lovers of good rock.
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