• Record Label: Matador
  • Release Date: Mar 18, 2003

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. 100
    Pig Lib is both the loopiest music Malkmus has ever made and the most direct. [Apr 2003, p.104]
  2. Pig Lib accomplishes what no punk-schooled fan would think possible: It makes prog-rock cool.
  3. The man has an uncanny ability to transliterate the sounds only record collectors can hear--early Thin Lizzy, for instance --into a passionate ache anyone can love.
  4. Malkmus' songwriting is back from blandland, the backing Jicks rock, and the production got it all on tape without screwing it up.
  5. It wildly exceeds the expectations generated by Malkmus’s first solo shot.
  6. What makes these songs really special is their ability to maintain a pop coherency, whilst being genuinely quirky and experimental.
  7. 80
    Pig Lib is full of as many little mysteries as it is revelations. [Apr 2003, p.91]
  8. 80
    The second solo album still sounds like a wilful jukebox stocked on the disparate taste of someone attempting vinyl hari-kari. [Apr 2003, p.116]
  9. Finally makes good on Malkmus' claims of musical maturity. [Apr 2003, p.80]
  10. It's as much the arrival of The Jicks as it is the rebirth of Stephen Malkmus: The band has become a grounding force he can push and pull from, a safety net allowing him to take risks.
  11. A return to form: no tongue-in-cheek pop motifs, but a welcome re-embracing of the mid-American rock that always informed Pavement's more enlightening, abstruse moments.
  12. The chaos occasionally bleeds into the music itself, but while Pig Lib may initially sound thornier than its immediately welcoming predecessor, it grows more inviting with each listen.
  13. Pig Lib is the kind of album you think about even when it's not on, that slowly develops for you and creates synapses and connections that maybe Malkmus never intended.
  14. Sprawls in all directions, effortlessly spanning the gap between breezy pop and hard rock.
  15. 80
    They've made a great record of choogling and--surprisingly for the wonky Malkmus--tender tunes. [Apr 2003, p.125]
  16. Pig Lib is Malkmus' loosest set of songs ever, an elegantly meandering head trip underpinned by the kind of tuneful, world-wise romanticism that's won him the hearts of English majors everywhere.
  17. Our adult Malkmus is less prone to toss off a half-finished rough gem and more likely to polish and polish until things are a little too shiny.
  18. Luckily, his affable spunk grounds much of the exploration, yet, at some point, the line between circumstance and good songwriting becomes suspiciously blurred.
  19. A natural follow-up to his first solo outing. [#229, p.68]
  20. The songwriter's fondness of esoterica makes "Pig Lib" a trying listen; even the song titles can elicit an eye roll.
  21. Shows little departure from the Malkmus formula. [Apr 2003, p.108]
  22. 60
    Just start at track six, where the getting gets good. [#58, p.97]
  23. Apart from the wonderfully elastic, surprising “Us," it doesn't offer anything striking or resonant.
  24. Just like every other record Malkmus has been involved with, it doesn't feel like an album, doesn't feel like one whole work, doesn't feel focused, or of some specific intent. Pig Lib sounds rambling and goofy and slump-shouldered and half-assed and happened-upon and lazily comfortable with every step that it takes.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. danc
    May 15, 2003
    love every minute of it!! Saw them @ Irving Plaza, so tight and into it...It was great!
  2. bjorkboll
    Apr 20, 2003
    Better than his solo debut, but lacking some of Pavements unpredictability.
  3. xPh
    Apr 11, 2003
    Pig Lib only has to spin four times before it burn a hole in your head and heart.