Released: February 2, 1994
Label: Matador Records
Reviewed by: Allison Johnson
Pavement’s critically acclaimed sophomore album Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain is one of the greatest albums to come out of the 1990’s, and according to many, one of the greatest Indie albums of all time. This group of Lo-fi rockers from California managed to gain the praise of some of music’s toughest critics, bestowing upon them an enormous amount of respect and fandom throughout the years. Although this album came out in 1994, it has left an indelible mark on the Indie Rock genre, and can still be enjoyed today as much as it was then. With a sound that resembles bands like Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo and Dinosaur Jr., not to mention their blatant college-radio appeal, what’s not to like about Pavement?
Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain is composed of catchy melodies, thought-provoking lyrics, and a continuous flow of ringing guitars, leaving nothing to be desired. From the upbeat opening track “Silence Kid” (Commonly mistaken as “Silence Kit”), to the lethargic, pleading closer “Fillmore Jive”, variety is not an issue. As the primary song writer, front man Stephen Malkmus expresses a great deal of concern within his lyrics, most notably in the song “Cut Your Hair”, Pavement’s almost mainstream success, when he states “Songs mean a lot when songs are bought/And so are you”, an obvious slant toward anyone who’s ever sold out. In the undeniably mellifluous “Gold Soundz”, Malkmus states “And you’re the kind of girl I like/Because you’re empty and I’m empty/And you can never quarantine the past,” a sweet sentiment for all of those jaded romantics out there. Don’t fail to take note of the laid back, slacker guitar riffs in the melancholy track “Stop Breathin”, a song that reeks of defeat, or the buoyant drums in “Elevate Me Later”, a song fit for any summer playlist. Perhaps one of the best lines on this album comes from “Range Life”, a track mostly known for its digs at the Smashing Pumpkins and the Stone Temple Pilots, but all feuds aside, Malkmus provides listeners with a comforting piece of advice when he confidently sings “There’s ways of living, it’s the way I’m living/Right or wrong it’s all that I can do”, reminding us that as long as we’re living life on our terms, we’re doing the best we can. Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain is an album for anyone who needs a new everyday soundtrack, or maybe just a light refresher course in reality.