Pavement released Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain on February 2, 1994, and Guided By Voices released Bee Thousand on June 21 of the same year. Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was Pavement's second album although, technically, it was their third if you include Westing (By Musket & Sextant) but that was more of an album that just contained odds and ends. Bee Thousand was GBV's ninth album, and contained a slew of left-over tracks that hadn't yet been put on record. For whatever reason, these two bands end up joined at the hip whenever people discuss the true indie rock luminaries. Considering the back stories for these two albums this may seem strange. Pavement was slightly younger, I think, and was probably seen as a band on the up-and-up. I mean, they did play Lollapalooza that summer and that's back when Lollapalooza was a big deal for being a one day concert and not a bloated three day extravaganza that mixes old bands from the '90s and a bunch of bands who played Pitchfork the year before. At the time, you would have to imagine that the Pavement album was a bigger deal while GBV was just more of pleasant surprise.
Of course I'm biased about this, but I would have to argue that Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was in fact, a bigger deal. Then again, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was the first Pavement album that I ever bought, and to boot it completely changed the way I thought about music and life. If I had never heard that album then none of this would be happening right now. I would be unaware of Pavement which means I would have never gotten into Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, or any other band that falls under the indie umbrella. I certainly would have never gotten into GBV. The more I think about it, I probably wouldn't listen to hip hop either if it weren't for Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. Pavement restored my faith in music. I realized that rock music didn't have to be angry, and that lyrics didn't have to be meaningful. I learned that music could be rock, and be strange and slightly awkward at the same time.
I bring this up because earlier I had a fleeting thought. What if I had heard Bee Thousand before Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain? What if my introduction to indie rock had been Guided By Voices instead of Pavement? Would I like this album?
I'm inclined to think that I would like the album, but I doubt that I would love it. I probably would have complained that it was uneven like the movie Stripes, and I probably would have been out of shape over the fact that the lyrics were all over the place. I would have kept this album, but it probably would have been one of those albums that I owned but never really listened to except for when I was blackout drunk and feeling just crazy enough to listen to something totally off the wall.
It's probably ridiculous and unfair to compare GBV and Pavement, but it's the only comparison that makes a shred of sense to me. Reviews on the internets say that Bee Thousand was influenced by The Who and bootlegs by The Beatles, but all of that is kind of lost on me mainly because I never got into the Who and my fandom of the Beatles is limited to Abbey Road, Revolver, and The White Album. I may be just grasping for straws, but I think my reasoning for mentioning Pavement in today's assessment is that because without Pavement I would probably have no room in my heart for GBV. Closing in on the end, and am starting to get to a point where I felt that I was pulling myself too deeply into Bee Thousand. Thought that maybe if I created some space between myself and this album that perhaps I would get a better grasp on it. It's hard for me to determine whether or not I succeeded in this endeavor, but I can say unequivocally that I feel better about today's analysis than I have about the past few.