In 1994, Spin said this was the 10th best album of the year and in 2005 they dubbed it the 37th best album of the last twenty years. P4K christened it in 1999 as the 4th best record of the 1990s, and in a revised list published in 2003 this record dropped to #10. Truth be told, these lists may not mean anything at all. There's an entire book published about this album so hailing this record as big deal is totally acceptable.
According to the internets, frontman Robert Pollard's song-writing style is similar to William S. Burroughs' in the sense that the product can be taken and broken apart and put back together in any number of ways and still make sense. All the tracks could be re-arranged and put in a different order, and it wouldn't hamper the album. In this writer's opinion, this technique did not work for Burroughs but that's a conversation for a later date. It works here though because Pollard's aim isn't to offend or to shock. It's to rock. A bulk of the songs here are older GBV tracks that have been re-recorded and re-worked. Pollard was trying to do something with what he had as opposed to Burroughs who wasn't trying to do anything except to appall the readers. It would be irresponsible to suggest that this album didn't send some listeners running to the hills, but there are always going to be haters regardless of what the product in question is. Cleary, there are some people who can't get behind songs that are only a minute and a half long and of course there are some who just don't dig lo-fi. That's their loss, though.
After two listens, this album is fascinating. It was good yesterday, but today it seems like there are more levels to it that need to be penetrated and that's just from a musical standpoint. I've resisted paying attention to the lyrics at this point, but that will happen in due time. Focusing on just the recording and the instruments, there's a wave of feeling. This album could be listened to in the summertime while you're hanging out with your bros. You could listen to it on a cold, winter night while you sip whiskey and chain smoke cigs and think about that one girl. If you work in an office in a tiny cubicle with no windows then this album could brighten your day or at least make it more interesting. This album is similar to a hoodie in the sense that you wear the shit out of it, but despite that you never really get tired of it.
(Writer's Note: If anyone is actually reading this then hop in on this. I'm not terribly bright, and oftentimes I am very wrong in my assessments so if you know what's up then offer your thoughts as well. There's an online movement where people have been reading David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest for the first time, and then they all get together on a website and discuss their thoughts. That probably won't work here because it'll just be me talking to myself, but at the very least I'm just putting it out there.)