Party Like It’s 1994

A tweet from Matador Records today alerted me to the fact that Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was released on this day in 1994, making it 25 years old.

At the time, this was an album that took me by surprise. I was one of the few in my peer group who hadn’t drunk the Kool-Aid on Pavement’s first album, Slanted and Enchanted. In historic perspective Slanted is a great record — I stand corrected on that one — but still I approached Crooked Rain with some skepticism.

It didn’t last long. Crooked Rain is a masterpiece right from its opening seconds, in which a loose, shambling agglomeration of guitar and drum noises starts, stops, starts again, and eventually resolves itself into a towering, monumentally catchy riff. From there it’s off to the races:

And I don’t necessarily want to get into a whole thing about Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain today — it’s one of my all-time favorites, and I don’t have time to do it justice. (You can read good, lengthy takes here and here.) But it’s just the leading edge of a wave of stuff that will be turning 25 this year, including Pulp Fiction, Kurt Cobain’s suicide, and a whole bunch of great albums:

  • Laurie Anderson: Bright Red/Tightrope
  • The Beastie Boys: Ill Communication
  • Beck: Mellow Gold
  • Frank Black: Teenager of the Year
  • Cake: Motorcade of Generosity
  • Gang Starr: Hard to Earn
  • The Jesus & Mary Chain: Stoned and Dethroned
  • Love and Rockets: Hot Trip to Heaven
  • G. Love and Special Sauce: G. Love and Special Sauce
  • Portishead: Dummy
  • The Roots: Do You Want More?!!!??!
  • The Silver Jews: Starlite Walker
  • Soundgarden: Superunknown
  • Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Orange
  • That Petrol Emotion: Fireproof
  • They Might Be Giants: John Henry
  • Uncle Tupelo: Anodyne
  • Ween: Chocolate and Cheese

Holy hell, that’s a lot of great music for one year, and all over the map too. Anyone who wants to talk trash about the 90s will have me to contend with — you know where to find me.