Because we’re on a string of L-Z artists, I thought it was due time for my favorite Pixies songs. The Pixies for me goes back to early high school. They had already broken up by the time I got around to first hearing Trompe Le Monde. It must have been 1992 – my sophomore year in high school. Sadly, most of the bands I loved during high school had broken up either at that time or before I got in to them. But Trompe Le Monde pretty much became the soundtrack to my high school days, especially with all the UFO connections.
One of my most fond memories of this era was with my friend, Jordan. He told me that Debaser (from Doolittle) was about the Pixies recording in a studio next to MC Hammer and the bass was too high that they needed to ask the engineer next door to “debass” what was going on in there. In retrospect, it’s insane to believe that I could have bought that. But I think I did for an hour or so. Seriously.
What’s more amazing is to see the influence this band had on a generation of bands to come. I still believe the Pixies were the Velvet Underground of my generation.
And after reading this list over again, I think it could change completely tomorrow or the next day. There really were very few bad Pixies songs.
- Levitate Me (Come On Pilgrim) – I think I like the BBC version better, cos the HEY’s at the end are way more aggressive.
- Alison (Bossanova) – 1:17 minutes of awesomeness. The hits right before Joey Santiago’s fierce solo is to die for.
- River Euphrates (Surfer Rosa) – I used to sing this with Sara Marcus when we taught at Green Acres Summer Day Camp. I recall counting the time signature of the vocals with her. And after having just counted this out loud to confirm, Emily just asked me, “Is our kid going to be able to count past 4 unless we are listening to Frank Zappa?” Perhaps there is some truth to her statement. But I now recall I was sort of right. The “ay ay ay” vocals in the beginning are composed of three bars of 4 and then a bar of 2. Or however you’d like to subdivide it. Of course this is over 4/4 drums and guitars. One has to love that Led Zeppelin moment.
- U-Mass (Trompe Le Monde) – Quite possibly the primary reason I applied to and almost went U-Mass. It’s god’s country out there. And it is educational. There is also a resemblance to Smells Like Teen Spirit in the chords, no?
- Debaser (Doolittle) – Sometimes there is just too much bass. The layers of guitar in this song are just splendid. And Kim Deal f’n rules. On many different levels.
- Where Is My Mind? (Surfer Rosa) – I guess if the Pixies were to have a ballad thus far in to their career, this would have been it. I do find it hard to digest that many people only really know them because of the inclusion of this song in the Fight Club movie’s credits.
- Motorway To Roswell (Trompe Le Monde) – I really do hate when songs start with the chorus. But the haunting piano at the end of the song makes up for it. That and the lyrical content. And you know, the music.
- Dig For Fire (Bossanova) – I still think Bossanova was hands-down the most underrated Pixies record. Joey’s guitars shine here. And does anyone else think M. Doughty stole the gang-a-dank from Joey’s guitars here? Maybe it’s just me. Why this wasn’t a single, is beyond me. This song should have been huge.
- Vamos (Surfer Rosa) – Frank Black’s quasi-made-up Spanish rules. And yet again, Joey’s scathing guitars rip this song a new one. I think this record really solidified my love of rhythm acoustic guitars over solid state electric guitars. The clash of both worlds is sexy.
- Bird Dream Of The Olympus Mons (Trompe Le Monde) – Duh.