http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/cefe4681fc19f0da4e0f8efcad09016d206860de.jpg Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain : L.A.'s Desert Origins


Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain : L.A.'s Desert Origins

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 5 0
November 25, 2004

Pavement may have been alternative rock's most notorious mess, but this deluxe reissue of their best album, appended with nearly forty extra tracks, illuminates one of their precious gifts: Like nobody else, the Stockton, California, band could make simple pop-rock chords sound really, really sarcastic. On its breakthrough, 1992's Slanted and Enchanted, melodies crept into a might-racket of guitar noise. Crooked Rain was almost the reverse: superbly crafted rock that only seemed splayed at the edges. "Silence Kid" begins with a fake-offhand guitar splutter, then becomes an anthem; while the ascending riffs of "Elevate Me Later" are cleverly onomatopoetic but also just as majestic and arena-ready as anything by U2. The extra tracks include a nod to Pavement's stadium heroes: The rare "Unseen Power of the Picket Fence" is a hilarious faux-metal homage to R.E.M.

Much of Crooked Rain proper is straight-out lovely: The drawn out, spindly solo of "Stop Breathin" is gorgeous; rarely has so much lazy beauty been wrung from so few actual notes. And with the would-be pop hit "Cut Your Hair," the band, at last, just went for it. Pavement used the skepticism they had toward their idols of the Seventies and Eighties to build a new, imperfect classic rock. Rain is the sound of five school-of-rock geeks trying to make their major matter again, and really, truly succeeding.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “American Girl”

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

    It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

    More Song Stories entries »