Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994)
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.
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.