Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Pixies - Death To The Pixies


The first Pixies song I ever heard was the their single Here Comes Your Man off the album Doolittle.  In fact, what I saw was the video for the track, where the band mimes with their mouths wide open.  The track itself has such a classic feel about it, I was surprised to find out it was an original composition.  The second song I ever heard was Tame, from the same album.  I remember being absolutely smitten with the song but unable to believe it was made by the same band. 

But the reality is the Pixies were able to pull off great pop and blistering punk rock, sometimes in the same song.  Their soft/loud formula became the template for myriad bands that followed, most notably and widely discussed among them being Nirvana.  Kurt Cobain professed his love of this band numerous times but also indicated they played a big part in the development of his band's sound.

What they did for me was show me, as both a songwriter and fan of both pop music melody and rock aesthetics, that I could write songs combining these two loves and make them into a bigger, better whole.  Of course, my music career never took the same high roads as Nirvana's but nevertheless, the influence was the same.  The band I was in around this time even covered one of their songs, U-Mass, such was our love of the Pixies.

The other thing I remember this band doing is uniting previously disparate groups of people under the single flag of indie rock, with both the American grunge and British music fans falling for this band.  What is mostly amazing to me listening back to this great collection is why the rest of the world didn't see the genius of the Pixies like we did.



I was never much of a Pixies fan.  I mean, I liked Here Comes Your Man and Monkey Gone To Heaven, but I never owned an album.  So it was interesting to listen to this best-of compilation -  and it's mostly well-put together rock.  Of course my indie-band complaint surfaced pretty quickly - what's the point of having lyrics for songs if you can't hear what's being sung?  But those tunes were thankfully in the minority. 

I have to say, I don't like Debaser even though some might say it's the quintessential Pixies song.  But I did like Caribou and I always appreciate a bite of girl-styled rawk.  I can also appreciate the production - these songs sound like they're almost recorded live.  There's a rawness and an urgency that you generally don't get with a studio sound.  But that's no excuse for unintelligible lyrics.  Not at all. 


For more information:

In our collection we also have Come On Pilgrim

No comments:

Post a Comment