“You don’t listen to the Pixies? I think you’d really like them.” I had heard that question and statement so many times in my life. I was very familiar with most of their more “popular” songs but had never felt compelled to dig in. It wasn’t until around 2010 when a girlfriend at the time forced this record on me, so I gave them their fair shot. It would take all of the first 45 seconds to convert me to an obsessive Pixies fan and lead me to listen to nothing but the band for the next 3 months.
Pixies’ Doolittle is a timeless classic that has left a lasting impact on the world of alternative rock. Released in 1989, it is the band’s second studio album and is widely regarded as one of the best albums of the 1980s. The album kicks off with “Debaser,” an explosive track that sets the tone for what is to come. It features a driving bassline from Kim Deal, frenzied guitar riffs, and Black Francis’ signature screams. The song is a nod to the surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel and his film “Un chien Andalou,” and its opening line “Got me a movie, I want you to know” sets the tone for the album’s lyrical themes of violence, sex, and death. Themes that always have spoken to your simplistic dad.
Doolittle is full of standout tracks, including “Here Comes Your Man,” which features a catchy chorus and a jangly guitar riff. The song was a departure from the band’s usual sound, but it helped to broaden their appeal and reach a wider audience.
Other highlights on the album include “Monkey Gone to Heaven,” a haunting track that tackles themes of environmentalism and religion, and “Wave of Mutilation,” a surf-rock inspired song about driving into the ocean. The album’s closer, “Gouge Away,” is a frenetic track that leaves a lasting impression. The song’s guitar riff is instantly recognizable, and Black Francis’ vocals are as intense as ever. I never tire of it. Though most consider “La La Love You” the throw away track of the album, it could very well be my favorite.
Doolittle was even a commercial success, reaching No. 8 on the UK charts and earning critical acclaim. The album has since become a cult classic and has been cited as a major influence on countless alternative and indie rock bands. Doolittle’s unique blend of punk, surf-rock, and pop influences, combined with Black Francis’ raw and emotive vocals, make for an unforgettable listening experience. Don’t wait as long as I did to dig in or gouge away (read the fable of Samson). Too on the nose given my current mullet hair you and your mom hate so much.
Favorite Tracks: “Debaser” “Gouge Away” “Here Comes Your Man” “La La Love You” “I Bleed” “Hey”
Pressing: 4AD – CAD 905. RE. 2004 (I Think. No Run-Out Determination)