Sunday Music: 25 Years of “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain”

From way back in 1994 comes Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, the second album from Pavement. The whole record drips with a distinct, disappointed-slacker vibe, which is probably why it still plays so well. Sonically, it’s all-encompassing, from the disorganized chaos at the beginning of “Silence Kit” to the whimpering, wah-wah guitar as “Fillmore Jive” closes. Lyrically it’s full of therapy-session outpourings (“come on now / talk about your family / your sister’s cursed / your father’s old and damned, yeah / silent kid, don’t listen to your grandmother’s advice about us, yeah / silent kid / don’t listen to the rain”), and snark (“go back to those gold soundz / and keep my advent to yourself / because it’s nothing I don’t like / is it a crisis or a boring change? / when it’s central, so essential / it has a nice ring when you laugh / at the low life opinions / and they’re coming to the chorus now”).

Beyond its critical success, the album didn’t change the world. Pavement never became “the next Nirvana,” and I’m pretty sure they were ok with that. Crooked Rain did, however, leave us with the stoner-stupid video for “Cut Your Hair,” and enough of its own style to still play ridiculously well in 2019. Give the whole thing a listen. Read Rob Harvilla’s write-up at The Ringer, or watch Pitchfork’s Liner Notes on it for more context.

Given the 90s nostalgia of the moment, I wonder if we can put in an order for someone to draw more influence from Pavement? I’m open to suggestions if anybody has spotted it. I hear a little in Remember Sports. Across genres too – who is/was the Pavement of rap (for example)?

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