pavement – crooked rain crooked rain

so drunk in the august sun
and you’re the kind of girl i like
because you’re empty, and i’m empty
and you can never quarantine the past

i haven’t met many people who have been fans of pavement, which has always bothered me. i’ve never been able to work it out, but i have a suspicion. i think they got a bit of a rap as a joke band, or at least, made extremely catchy songs that seemed to be nonsense lyrically. it made them hard to attach to emotionally.

for others, perhaps. for me, there was more than enough here to sustain my late teens. this was the second album i bought after hi fi way. so it holds a very special place in my mind and heart. it helps that, on its own merits, it has some of the most seminal songs of the 1990s. i’m not above owning the deep love i have for cut your hair.

elevate me later had enough angst to feel serious. it’s followed on the album by stop breathin which was serious. and newark wilder plumbs probably the darkest place pavement ever went (which was a bit more like some of the silver jews songs of the same era). unfair and hit the plane down let rip on heavier riffs and screeches.

it is also worth noting, though i don’t like to reference other reviews, that pitchfork ranked gold soundz as the number one song of the 1990s (and the whole album at number eight). i can say it is a brilliant song, especially in the middle where it breaks down and stacks up again; but the strongest memory i have of it is the film clip. the band were dressed in santa suits, driving a shit car and sliding down a grassy hill. it’s probably how i first knew it.

when you genuinely listen to all the parts that build these songs – like lego bricks – you realise how well written they were. like most other musicians in this catalogue, none of these guys were savants with their instruments. but nothing is, how can i say, vanilla. i think there’s more complexity, nuance and skill than most really gave them credit.

i will never think of pavement in the same way that musicians like will oldham, jason molina and the dirty three have affected me. but as a band, and through this album in particular, they shaped my musical and non-musical identity. and in that i do really know that i’m not alone. the twinge of sadness still hits me as fillmore jive pans out the album, and i realise the trip i’ve been on.

kudos forever; who else could really carry off a line like this and make it last in the collective memory (and, at the same time, be so accurate)…

out on tour with the smashing pumpkins
nature kids, they don’t have no function
i don’t understand what they mean
and i could really give a fuck

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