Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
Matador, 1994
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2012
Price: $5

A supreme masterpiece from a band I for some bizarre fucking reason just can’t fall in love with. I mean, it’s like, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you Pavement.” That sort of capital L Love I reserve for the bands that reside in my bloodstream. But I love Pavement, that’s for sure. I spent the better part of the spring getting acquainted with the group’s final LP, Terror Twilight, and that has really opened up their earlier discography. Like the pot of tasty jams at the end of the rainbow where you can look back and see the arc from Slanted & Enchanted and all the development in between.

I feel like the falling in love could happen when I decide to wade through all those b-sides on those fantastic CD reissues of all the albums. It’s not like I don’t try to fall in love with Pavement, there’s just something that doesn’t hit me on the right emotional wavelength. They’re blindingly important, that is for certain, and I understand that, and their pretend slacker technical proficiency is awe inspiring, but what’s missing? I don’t know. I don’t care too much, either, and I still listen to Pavement constantly like comfort food. I love talking about how I can’t fall in love with Pavement for some reason. I don’t know why. It’s like “Yeah, they’re that friend that I love because they’ll always be just a friend.” And I think I talk about it because I just can’t figure out why the fuck I don’t Love love Pavement. Why I’m not obsessed with them despite trying my hardest to be obsessed. They have songs that make me feel, like down at the core. “Frontwards,” “Here,” and “Fillmore Jive” kind of kill me. Speaking of “Fillmore Jive,” It’s on this record and I always overlooked it because this record also has “Silence Ki[d/t],” “Range Life,” “Gold Soundz,” and “Cut Your Hair” which are probably like 4 of the Top 25 indie rock songs of the 90s. No lie. Crooked Rain, Crooked Lane is also a capital A album, which is MORE reason for me to love it.

But all Love aside, look at this fucking record. Something about playing this in the summertime feels optimal. Perhaps recreating the L.A. that birthed it. What’s most important about Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain for me is that the band was totally willing to be weird as hell in between writing some of the most tuneful anthems of the time. The album closes with “Hit the Plane Down” and “Fillmore Jive” which are TOTALLY fucking weird, although “Fillmore Jive” is, as I said, one of my favorite Pavement songs from their catalog and not really weird but it’s on a sort of different level from the rest of the album yet is still the only way I can see this album ending. The guitar work on that song is just breathtaking. The palpable exhaustion in Malkmus’ vocals that echo the refrain of “I need to sleep.” “Goodnight to the rock n’ roll era,” he sings as if ushering in the death of the rock gods and the arrival of these normal bros making this sublime music and making it OK to create masterpieces in one’s bedroom/garage/makeshift recording studio, whatever. There’s something immensely satisfying about sitting down and listening to this album. All the little intricacies that are intentional or accidental (doesn’t matter) that reward listen after listen and it becomes obvious why so many people can be obsessed with this band. I want to join you, brethren, and soon I hope. 


  1. $5? Nice. Did it come with a 7 inch inside?

  2. Angel -from Spain-May 13, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    UH! wAIT A MOment!! In what Half Priced Book you buy thos records at that low prices??? I look into the HPB web and the prices are not the same :-/