- Tuneful without being soft, confident without being pompous, hip without being inaccesible, CROOKED RAIN, CROOKED RAIN was a huge leap for Pavement up the rock & roll evolution cycle. They may have gained some pop smarts, but a casual listen to the dissonant guitar solo of "Cut Your Hair" proves that the seeds planted with 1989's first SLAY TRACKS EP have come to their logical fruition.
- Stephen Malkmus and co. created an album that neither short-changed their status as prominent indie noise-makers, nor stunted their growth as a musical ensemble. Thus, though the inspired eccentricity is toned down--an instrumental tribute to fellow Stockton-ite Dave Brubeck being the closest thing to their early quirkiness--this is the most consistent set of stubbornly catchy songs ever. From the odd tunings and drunken AC/DC riffing of "Silence Kit"--with its somber lyric of leaving the urban life behind--to the epic closing of "Fillmore Jive"--which begs us to say "good night to the rock & roll era"--CROOKED RAIN is an album of short stories, full of irony, wit, and hooks.
Rolling Stone (2/24/94, p.55) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...an album that's darker and more beguiling than their heralded previous efforts....CROOKED RAIN's clean production and insidiously catchy melodies hardly signify that Pavement have sold out--if anything, their vision is more warped and caustic than before...."
Rolling Stone (p.94) - 5 stars out of 5 - "[S]uperbly crafted rock that only seemed splayed at the edges."
Rolling Stone (p.154) - Included in Rolling Stone's The 10 Best Reissues & Anthologies Of 2004 - "[T]welve songs of stumbling majesty, cutting jangle and instinctive perfection."
Spin (9/99, p.150) - Ranked #62 in Spin Magazine's "90 Greatest Albums of the '90s."
Spin (12/94, p.78) - Ranked #13 in Spin's list of the `20 Best Albums Of The Year' - "...magic....New York punk with extra bend..."
Spin (pp.115-16) - "[I]t now stands as not just Pavement's best record, but probably the single greatest indie-rock record ever made." - Grade: A+
Entertainment Weekly (p.125) - "[T]his album represents frontman Steve Malkmus's high-water mark as a snarky color commentator on plastic pop culture." - Grade: A-
Uncut (p.144) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[T]he band hits a golden seam of song that feels as wide open and free as the Pacific Interstate."
Alternative Press (p.98) - "[M]ost bands would give their career to write any of these slacker anthems - and now it's even better."
Magnet (p.93) - "[I]t remains the defining statement from the kings of indie rock."
The Wire (p.66) - "It was here that their freewheeling, tangential, hipster approach to rock came into sharper focus."
Melody Maker (2/5/94, p.28) - "...So good they named it twice....Pavement invent and invert and kick ass and kick the brow of greatness...."
Village Voice (2/28/95) - Ranked #2 in the Village Voice's 1994 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
Village Voice (2/22/94, p.61) - "...Like R.E.M., whose taste for romantic melodicism and lyrical obscurity they equal if not exceed, and Sonic Youth, whose love of noise and the underground that nurtures it they share, Pavement are American originals..." - Rating: A
Mojo (Publisher) (p.60) - Ranked #56 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "[T]he band employs a greater attention to detail to seamlessly blend the [songs]..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.110) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[I]t glowed with balmy West Coast harmonies and summery pop licks."
New York Times (Publisher) (1/5/95, p.C15) - Included on Neil Strauss' list of the Top 10 Albums Of '94 - "...[CROOKED RAIN] has so many twists, turns, allusions and contradictions that it deserves its own set of Cliff Notes."
New York Times (Publisher) (3/13/94, p.38) - "...at heart, CROOKED RAIN is an album that celebrates and denigrates itself....an album largely about the plight of rock bands that, like Pavement, are poised between critical and popular success...."
NME (Magazine) (12/24/94, p.22) - Ranked #17 in NME's list of the `Top 50 Albums Of 1994.'
NME (Magazine) (2/12/94, p.39) - 8 (out of 10) - "...Another set of giant steps, without a doubt..."