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Sunday, April 24, 2011

7. Pixies: Doolittle

It was April, 1989...22 years ago this month...that The Pixies released Doolittle. Have you heard it? If so, honestly, you don't need to read any further. You know exactly what I'm going to say. If you haven't, here's the link you need. Now buckle up!

This is the second full length album from The Pixies (always a bit awkward deciding whether to say "Pixies" or "The Pixies"...whether to capitalize "PIXIES" or not...they probably don't care either way, and would simply giggle at my indecisiveness). It follows another great album in 1988's Surfer Rosa (which many Pixies fans claim as their favorite...however, I believe that might just be because of Doolittle's commercial success...something Surfer Rosa never achieved, keeping it more underground). Combined, the two albums easily make up the band's strongest work.

Fifteen songs...twelve of which are under three minutes.  Black Francis (as he was known at the time) fought for this concept. He took his producer to a record store, pulled Buddy Holly's Greatest Hits from the rack and said, "If it's good enough for Buddy Holly..." I happen to love a good two minute song. It always leaves you wanting more...and if it happens to be no good...that's fine...it's over quickly. In the case of The Pixies, each song is a gem and a half!

The album begins with the incredible "Debaser", a song based on Salvador Dali's 1929 surrealistic film Un Chien Andalou (the line "slicing up eyeballs" stems from an early scene from the film)...followed by a song, "Tame", that would become the epitome of their sound...loudQUIETloud. This sudden loud to quiet dynamic would be extremely influencial to several bands, most notably, Nirvana, who, upon completion of the writing of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" believed it sounded too much like The Pixies, and that people were "going to nail [them] for this". "Wave Of Mutilation" and "I Bleed" follow respectively, and then comes the song "Here Comes Your Man". "Here Comes Your Man" has been described by...me...as the perfect pop song, showing the versatility of The Pixies, both lyrically and musically.

Soon after, we have "Monkey Gone To Heaven", one of the best Pixies songs, highlighting the biblical influences in the songwriting (you can also hear it in "Dead" and "Gouge Away'). Y'know, I'm seriously going to run out of space before praising this album as much as it deserves. I should mention "La La Love You" is a cult favorite, and "Hey" is another fantastic song.

This album, Doolittle, voted as #226 on the list of all time greatest albums by Rolling Stone, and as #2 all time by the UK magazine, NME, is jam-packed, straight through. It laid the groundwork for 90s rock, and the band, itself, even influenced existing legends such as David Bowie and Bono. Doolittle continues to sell well today, reinforcing its status as one of the greatest albums ever, and The Pixies reunion this past decade has gone a long way toward influencing a younger audience...thankfully!

By now, you must be dying for it, so here it is...actually, it was difficult to pick one video to attach here. I went with "Monkey Gone To Heaven"...enjoy!






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