That's a tough/easy question to answer depending on who you ask, it seems. Sadly, you might hear an answer of, "Who?", on occasion, but if you ask the right party, they'll either have an immediate answer, or they'll say that they can't really decide. At least, this is what I've noticed. The reason I'm bringing this up now is that the following exchange occurred at my place the other night during a weekly poker game. One guy was looking through my vinyl cabinet for something to play, found the Pavement section, and then this happened:
D: Without sounding too uncultured, what's the best Pavement album?
N: Slanted & Enchanted.
S: You said that rather matter-of-factly, N.
N: Well, that's because it's a matter of fact.
(Names abbreviated to unnecessarily protect the completely innocent.)
I chuckled out loud, as did some others around the table, but that was the extent of the discussion. I went back to focusing on losing at cards and forgot about the whole thing. But now that I think about it, I don't really have an immediate answer to that question, like N did. I can think of good sections of albums that I enjoy, a multitude of favorite songs and lyrics and guitar riffs and so on, but none of the albums particularly stand out as an overwhelming favorite to me. I'd like to investigate this further. I recently got the Watery, Domestic EP in the mail from an order I made with Matador Records (in addition to the Slow Century DVD) and that completely rounds out my collection of Pavement vinyl. I've acquired all of the LPs (Slanted & Enchanted; Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain; Wowee Zowee; Brighten The Corners; and Terror Twilight) at various record shops as I find them (all at pretty good prices for new vinyl, I might add). I know there are a bunch of other EPs and singles out there, but it seems like those 5 LPs and 1 EP are the "main discography", so to speak, or at least the easily acquirable ones. Sometime in the not-too-distant future, I hope to devote an entire afternoon (or more) to sitting down and playing them all in a row and settling on a favorite. Maybe one will jump out immediately. Maybe I'll be more confused than ever. Who knows, really? It will be fun, that's for sure.
In the meantime, what's your favorite and why? I'm really curious about the reasons for these types of decisions. Feel free to chime in with just an album name for the sake of a general poll, but I'm more interested in logical and/or metaphysical explanations, here. So have at it.