19 Years Ago: Pavement’s ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain’ Album Released
Everyone agrees that Pavement’s 1992 debut album, ‘Slanted and Enchanted,’ is a milestone record in the history of indie rock, an undisputed classic, one of the few original works of the past quarter century, blah blah blah. But ‘Slanted’’s follow-up, ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain,’ is the better album, a tuneful exercise in noise-rock restraint and myth crumbling.
‘Slanted and Enchanted’ may have made them the favorite new band of music snobs all over the world, but it sold hardly any copies and received virtually no airplay. So either by design, or just because they were bored with the fractured art-rock that populated their first album, Pavement went into to the studio to make their next record without any hang-ups, expectations or needless clutter.
And it paid off. Not only was ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain’ – which celebrates its 19th anniversary today -- a relative hit, reaching No. 121, its lead single ‘Cut Your Hair’ climbed to No. 10 on the modern-rock chart. The band even appeared on ‘The Tonight Show.’ But more than that, almost every single one of the album’s dozen songs is a keeper – from the near-pop of the opening ‘Silence Kit’ to the super-catchy ‘Gold Soundz’ to the twangy ‘Range Life,’ in which frontman Stephen Malkmus name-checks the Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots in not-necessarily-flattering ways.
Pavement never had another modern-rock hit, but their legacy in indie-rock circles is insurmountable. There isn’t a small town in America that doesn’t have a group of kids who want to sound like Pavement. ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain’ is their most accessible album, stuffed with songs, melodies and full-bodied production that approach classic-rock scope at times. The hipsters may tell you differently, but this is Pavement’s masterpiece.
Watch Pavement's Video for 'Cut Your Hair'