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On Tuesday, '90s alt-rock heroes Pavement released their greatest hits compilation Quarantine the Past, a rich double disc that's 23 tracks deep with hits and fan favorites spanning the the band's 10-year history. Devoted fans will surely have all the songs spread out among albums and re-issues, but the compilation works just as well as a highlight reel as it does a Pavement starter kit. And for those not as familiar with the Stockton, CA natives as they'd like to be, it couldn't have come at a better time.

The band, who has not performed together since 1999, lit up music blogs across the web back in September when they announced they'd be reuniting for a handful of shows in NYC's Central Park later this year. The shows reportedly sold out within minutes, prompting the group to expand the reunion to a full-on tour. While the anticipation for their NYC shows builds, we put together a beginner's guide to the 7 Pavement songs you need to know...

"Summer Babe (Winter Version)"
RELEASED: 1992

• The first single on the band's debut full length Slanted and Enchanted, "Summer Babe" is Pavement at their messiest, its plotted distortion causing many to hold it that much closer to their heart. Although Slanted and Enchanted is hugely influential in the world of lo-fi, lead singer Stephen Malkmus has claimed that he was trying to sing like Velvet Underground's Lou Reed.

 

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"Cut Your Hair"
RELEASED: 1994

• The closest the band has ever come to a hit, "Cut Your Hair" had a video in (sparse) rotation on MTV and can also be seen being snapped on during an episode of Beavis and Butthead. In the tradition of crossover hits, "Cut Your Hair," which directly addresses selling out for fame, may be the single diehard fans regard the least.

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"Gold Soundz"
RELEASED: 1994

• As the first song on Quarantine the Past, as well as the source of the compilation's name, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain's second single "Gold Soundz" is a great introduction to Pavement. Though it failed to chart the way "Cut Your Hair" did, the song is Pavement at their most approachable, Malkmus almost arguing with his past.

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"Range Life"
RELEASED: 1994

• Though Malkmus would claim that the song was written through the eyes of an aging hippie, "Range Life" gained notoriety for dissing both Smashing Pumpkins and the Stone Temple Pilots. The song led to a war of words between Malkmus and Billie Corgan, including Corgan threatening to pull out of 1994 Lollapalooza if Pavement was also playing.

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"AT&T"
RELEASED: 1995

• As Pavement's third album Wowee Zowee has been criticized for lack of focus, so too has Malkmus been praised for "AT&T"'s conviction amidst nonsensical lyrics. Though he all but loses his my mind by song end, "AT&T" makes for one of the more spirited Pavement sing alongs.

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"Stereo"
RELEASED: 1997

• The chorus for "Stereo" sounds like something Lady Gaga would love to be singing, albeit more annoyingly. The verses are all Malkmus, confusing are they are empowering, but it's about as close to power pop as lo-fi gets.

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"Spit On A Stranger"
RELEASED: 1999

• As off-putting a title it is, "Spit On A Stranger," is soft and warm like the rest of Pavement's Terror Twilight swan song. Malkmus sounds romantic and remarkably composed, singing, "Honey I'm a prize and you're a catch/And we're a perfect match/like two bitter strangers."

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