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Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994)

February 4, 2014

[Album 285/1001]220px-Pavement_Crooked_Rain

Favourite songwriter?  Tough to say.

Favourite lyricist?  A much easier task.  9 times out of 10, I’d say Stephen Malkmus (SM).

Some of my favourite SM-isms from Crooked Rain:

“Songs mean a lot when songs are bought” – Cut Your Hair

“Walk with your credit card in the air!” – Unfair

“And you can never quarantine the past” – Gold Soundz

“You gotta pay your dues before you pay the rent” – Range Life

The text alone does not begin to do the lyrics justice; SM’s unique phrasing makes the songs.

Crooked Rain, while not the best album in the band’s discography, is likely the optimal starting point for Pavement newbies.  The debut Slanted & Enchanted also has a well-deserved spot on the 1001 but it’s a bit raw and, some might say, severely under-produced.  Later records have plenty of magical moments but even at their most accessible, the band is probably still an acquired taste.  The four songs quoted above are some of the most melodic of their career & if I remember correctly, Cut Your Hair was my gateway.  A gateway for which I’m eternally grateful!

I was pleased earlier in this project to learn that the lone instrumental here, 5-4=Unity, is a nice nod to Dave Brubeck

And the #1 song on Pitchfork Media’s Top 200 of the 90s?  The evergreen Gold Soundz.  The guitar tones (especially from 1:20 onwards) are pretty darn close to perfection.

Discovering new artists is often quite fun but it’s always a privilege to spend time with an old friend.

So heed SM’s advice: Go back to those Gold Soundz.

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From → 1990s

7 Comments
  1. This album is quite awesome, but as you said, not my favorite of theirs. But of course though, the newbies will love this because it probably has their most commercial-sound to it. Gotta chance to see them for their 2010 reunion tour and needless to say, my life was quite complete after that point in time. Nice post, man!

    • I’m envious!
      I heard nothing but good things about that tour – reunion tours in general make me nervous but considering they quit at the top of their game, this didn’t feel like one of those ‘cashing in’ reunions. I’m hoping they’ve got at least one more tour in them!

  2. Admittedly, Pavement is one if those bands that, while I appreciate their worth and their talent, I could never fully get into them. I had tons of friends that adored them though. Perhaps it’s time I give them another shot.

    • I was that way with Sonic Youth – a switch went last year for me, perhaps there’s hope yet for you & Pavement!

      • I’m still that way with Sonic Youth, with the exception of a few songs, and Husker Du and Skinny Puppy also. Important bands all, but to my ears, unlistenable.

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