They had fully fleshed-out songs and whispers and rumors of half-formed ones. They had songs that followed a hard-to-gauge internal logic, sometimes drifting into the ether or flying totally off the rails, sometimes achieving an unlikely resolution. They had punk tunes and country tunes and sad tunes and funny ones. They had fuzzy pop and angular new wave. They had raunchy guitar solos and stoner blues. They had pristine jangle and pedal steel. The final track list ran to eighteen songs and filled three sides of vinyl. The record's title was a nod to their former drummer. He'd say wowee zowee when something blew his mind.
Released in 1995, on the heels of two instant classics, Wowee Zowee confounded Pavement's audience and took the shine off their status as can't-lose critics darlings. Yet the record has grown in stature and many diehard fans now consider it Pavement's best. Weaving personal history and reporting including extensive new interviews with the band Bryan Charles goes searching for the story behind the record and finds a piece of art as elusive, anarchic and transportive now as it was then.
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