- Pavement: Stephen Malkmus, Mark Ibold, Spiral Stairs, Bob Nastanovich, Steve West.
- A surprisingly divisive album when it came out in 1997, BRIGHTEN THE CORNERS was seen as too much of a softball to champions of the bizarro WOWEE ZOWEE, while those left scratching their heads after ZOWEE actually welcomed it. Whereas the latter has seemed more obviously great with each passing year, CORNERS remains what it always was--a catchy set of rockers and ballads, frontloaded with the attention-grabbing "Stereo," which gives the album its quirk. (Real fans know the secret that the last three or four tracks are the real classics.)
- The 2008 deluxe reissue of BRIGHTEN THE CORNERS contains a second disc of rare, live, and unreleased tracks, including the band's cover of the Clean's "Oddity" and a truncated take on Faust's "It's a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl."
Rolling Stone (p.98) - 4.5 stars out of 5 -- "In 1997, these slacker romantics slowed things down and serenaded their fans, delivering an album short on noise and long on artfully dissonant ballads."
Rolling Stone (2/20/97, p.68) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...reaffirms what was likeable about Pavement in the first place: their angular but graceful melodies, their languorous anti-anthems and, of course, Malkmus' labyrinthine--and often funny or poignant--lyrical turns..."
Spin (1/98, p.87) - Ranked #11 on Spin's list of the "Top 20 Albums of the Year."
Spin (3/97, p.99) - 8 (out of 10) - "...these tunes want you and they're not shy about it. They catch you up, charm, rouse, and freak you, and don't often ridicule....BRIGHTEN THE CORNERS is a guitar-rock album invigorated by hip-hop, in the same way MARQUEE MOON was a guitar-rock album invigorated by reggae..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.69) - "[A] trove of effortless pleasures, from the pogo-party frolic 'Stereo' to the rickety, fuzzed-up gem 'Date w/ Ikea.'" -- Grade: A
Entertainment Weekly (2/21-2/28/97, p.125) - "Curbing their smarty-pants indulgences, these wiseacres get down to business, crafting indie guitar rock that ebbs and flows with delicate power....BRIGHTEN proves there are still signs of life in this otherwise moribund genre." - Rating: B
Q (3/97, p.110) - 3 Stars (out of 5) - "...Pavement have fallen into a more straightforward emotional gush on BRIGHTEN THE CORNERS....It's like Husker Du playing lo-fi pop punk with a spiked, almost newsworthy literate prosemaster, high on Pixies-flavoured twists..."
Alternative Press (3/97, p.73) - 3 Stars (out of 5) - "...The licks are still crispy, and the hooks are still catchy. Toe-tappingly catchy, in fact, to the point that [BRIGHTEN THE CORNERS] is likely to appeal broadly..."
CMJ (1/6/03, p.18) - Included in CMJ's list of "Top 25 College Radio Albums of All Time"
Melody Maker (2/8/97, p.49) - Recommended - "...melodic, accessible and...Sixties-influenced....In the same way Pavement's early material could've been seen as a loving tribute to the off-kilter eccentricity of The Fall, their fourth album is Britpop seen through a trans-Atlantic cultural prism..."
Village Voice (2/24/98) - Ranked #10 in the Village Voice's 1997 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
Billboard (p.46) - "[T]he singles 'Stereo' and 'Shady Lane' are among the band's best..."
Q (Magazine) (p.124) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Moments of melodic pop genius such as 'Shady Lane' and Byrds-influenced 'Date w/Ikea' sit snugly next to the quieter likes of 'Transport Is Arranged' and beautiful 'Starlings Of The Slipstream.'"
Mojo (Publisher) (p.122) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "BRIGHTEN THE CORNERS remains the indie subersives' sturdiest selection of songs, with a slight return of the Gen X anthem in the switchbacking, Geddy Lee-invoking 'Stereo' and a resurgence of mainman Stephen Malkmus's needling wiseacre persona..."
NME (Magazine) (12/20-27/97, pp.78-79) - Ranked #24 in NME's 1997 Critics' Poll.
Blender (Magazine) (p.67) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "This 1997 set showcases the band at its breeziest...as singer Stephen Malkmus muses slightly less cryptically than usual over loose-limbed guitars and honest-to-goodness hooks."
Clash (magazine) (p.108) - "[With] some of Pavement's finest moments; from 'Shady Lane' to 'Stereo,' it's a welcome revisit to one of the most 'indie' bands ever."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.100) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[Pavement] could breathlessly churn out melodies and riffs."