• Record Label: Matador
  • Release Date: May 24, 2005
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. It’s weird, (but not annoyingly so), it’s catchy (but not annoyingly so), and it’s fresh (but not annoyingly so). Face the Truth is the work of a songwriter at his finest hour.
  2. A vibrant return to form... thrilling and rewarding.
  3. Malkmus has the same fractured pop sensibility, but his music is more expansive than it’s been before.
  4. An excellent album graced by the kind of clever hooks, lines, and sinkers that color Malkmus’ best work, be it with Pavement or the Jicks.
  5. Face the Truth is probably the most eclectic of all Malkmus’s work. There are elements of every Pavement album in amongst the tracks, with familiar noodly guitar intros, shouty, jaunty refrains and languid deadpan-rap segments.
  6. Behind this happy clash of stylistic preferences is a subtly but surely revivified Malkmus, confident to experiment more deliberately than ever.
  7. 84
    Of the three Stephen Malkmus solo albums, this is the one that sounds the most like Pavement. [#15, p.91]
  8. With the Fiery Furnaces bringing indie-prog rigmarole back in fashion, Face The Truth might get a little more love than Pig Lib did, despite being the same album with a few more fart sounds.
  9. It's weird, yes, but in a good way. [3 Jun 2005, p.82]
  10. Consistently enjoyable, predictably inconsequential.
  11. 80
    The confidence and unforced vigour of Face The Truth suggest Malkmus is happier on the margins of alt.rock than in its spotlight. [Jun 2005, p.112]
  12. He’s back in the groove here: relaxed, confident, weird in his own special way, smart, and ready to make great albums again.
  13. 80
    Blend[s] limpid Velvet Underground textures, strolling country-rock and wry, cryptically plaintive Malkmus poetry well enough to sound like neo-classics destined for a Wes Anderson film. [Jun 2005, p.111]
  14. Face the Truth won me over by showing all the sides of Steve that drew me to him in the first place, along with a few new surprises.
  15. Pig Lib Part Two? Maybe so, but there are enough subtle evolutions here to keep any SM follower listening intently until the cows come home.
  16. Malkmus has long made a game of languishing, but he now sounds refreshingly eager to turn off the scoreboard and let his songs coach themselves.
  17. Malkmus seems to be firing on all cylinders for the first time as a solo artist.
  18. Gone are the spotty moments that marred his previous solo work. Most important, Malkmus seems to be having fun again.
  19. The songs, which have the choppy angles and elegant dissonance of Pavement’s, are painstakingly layered with keyboards and all manner of funky blurps and beeps. It all sounds very labor-intensive—and pretty smart, too.
  20. 75
    For good and ill, this jumble couldn't come from anyone but Malkmus. [Jun 2005, p.104]
  21. Face the Truth is paradoxically the most intriguing Malkmus album and the weakest of his post-Pavement career.
  22. Stuffed with little revelations. [Jun 2005, p.113]
  23. 70
    Typically, there are also infuriating moments... but overall, this marks a welcome return to form. [Jun 2005, p.106]
  24. Is Malkmus treading water? Well, maybe. But despite the complaints of those fans who can’t let Pavement go, he’s still making valid, adventurous and - most of all - fun music.
  25. The album lacks a unifying thread, either sonically or thematicallly. [#10, p.112]
  26. 70
    Too stylistically diverse, willfully weird and lyrically cryptic to be anything more than an acquired taste. [#68, p.101]
  27. It's easy to boggle at but less easy to love, since there's nowhere to hang your critical hat for longer than about three bars at a time.
  28. While Face The Truth rarely presents a side of its creator that has not already been seen, loved, and cried over, it's a passable, even better-than-average album.
  29. If it's not a leap in the right direction, it's at least a big step.
  30. May be the weirdest record Malkmus has made since Pavement's Wowee Zowee. [Jul 2005, p.174]
  31. Does a new generation of music lovers really need a third solo album from [Malkmus] which includes songs that house guitar wig-outs and last up to eight minutes? Not really. [28 May 2005, p.64]
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 35 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Serdil
    Dec 7, 2009
    9
    If not too modest to say, one of the best indie-rock albums of the decade. such beautiful sound, experimental atmosphere and songwriting. not If not too modest to say, one of the best indie-rock albums of the decade. such beautiful sound, experimental atmosphere and songwriting. not only can the progress be easily observed in his solo career, but also so much added up to pavement era. the album cant fit into any structures or boundaries, hence we call it "indie-rock" but it is erratic (in a good way) even in his own genre. it seems his relationship with the instrument has come to a very mature yet energetic state. he sounds more cynical as he's been there, done that. in the meantime, despite not being screamy-shouty, you can sense a refined and more deconstructive aggression. a note, the whole album should be listened in a stereo soundsystem with a distance between speakers. you'll get the difference. Full Review »
  2. PeterK.
    Jan 23, 2008
    7
    The hooks could be larger, but they're still large and I enjoy his aesthetic (distorted guitars, screwed up lyrics, and blips and bleeps The hooks could be larger, but they're still large and I enjoy his aesthetic (distorted guitars, screwed up lyrics, and blips and bleeps a plenty.) Full Review »
  3. AndrewE
    Jan 28, 2007
    10
    In a weird way, I like this more than slanted and enchanted. I can't go crazy critical right now, but, certainly, the critics are In a weird way, I like this more than slanted and enchanted. I can't go crazy critical right now, but, certainly, the critics are reaching too far. This is the best solo album for sure. Full Review »