Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Haahnster Loves The '80s (Just Not VH1's '80s)

This is the 1st in what should be a series of posts (not sure how frequent) that will examine some '80s music that doesn't seem to make it into those VH1 "I Love The '80s" shows.

We begin with SURFER ROSA (1988) by the Pixies. What a rockin'-ass classic!

1. Bone Machine, 2. Break My Body, 3. Something Against You, 4. Broken Face, 5. Gigantic, 6. River Euphrates
1. Where Is My Mind? 2. Cactus, 3. Tony's Theme, 4. Oh My Golly! 5. Vamos, 6. I'm Amazed, 7. Brick Is Red

"Bone Machine" is a classic opener, with crashing drums and noisy guitars. The lyrics are odd to say the least (e.g., "You're so pretty/When you're unfaithful to me", and the chorus: "Your bone's got a little machine", as well as some of my all-time favorite creepy lyrics: "I was talkin' to Peachy-Peach/About kissy-kiss/He bought me a soda/He bought me a soda/He bought me a soda/And he tried to molest me in the parking lot"). All the songs are solid, but to me the other highlights of side one are "Gigantic" and "River Euphrates".

Side two kicks off with one of the catchiest tunes you'll ever hear on any "alternative" (not a big fan of that descriptor) album, "Where Is My Mind?" This song was used at the very end of David Fincher's film Fight Club (1999), and more recently in Gore Verbinski's The Weather Man (2005) starring Nicholas Cage. As with side one, all of side two is fairly solid, but...

"Vamos" is the climax of the entire album. It has a feedback opening. It has that Black Francis (aka Frank Black) technique of humorously mixing Spanish and English lyrics. It has an impossibly fast, driving drumbeat. It has loud, distorted, stinging guitar noise. It has vocal sceams and screeches. In short, it is the quintessential Pixies song. You should really listen to it again soon. Listen to the guitar, particularly after the lines "If we get bored/We'll move to California", and think about Neil Young's guitar solos in "Hey Hey, My My". I'm not sayin'...I'm just sayin'. (And, of course, I love it!) "Vamos" had previously been on the band's EP "Come On Pilgrim". It was a very good song there, but as re-recorded on ROSA, it achieves its full brilliance.

PS - Read about one of the coolest records in my collection here. Man, I was lucky to be at the U of I in Champaign, home of the coolest record store in history, Record Swap. That was a place where imports like this 12" single of "Gigantic" would show up in the used bin for $2.99...freakin' amazing. (This store is also where I stumbled upon TIME FADES AWAY for $3.99, by the way.) The re-recordings of "Gigantic" and "River Euphrates" seem somewhat slower and more deliberate. And, at least in the case of "River Euphrates", there's even more guitar noise. I mean we're talking "Vamos"-like guitar noise. Then, the live songs are WAY cool. "Vamos" is very well represented live, and the cover of the song "Heaven (The Lady In The Radiator Song)" is brilliant, a complete Brank Francis scream-fest! The jacket photography is among the most disturbing I've ever seen...naked, crying baby boy, filthy from the waist down...the reverse side is just a filthy black glove...YUCK!


Blogger Beth said...

I. F*cking. Love. This. Album.

9:17 PM, July 11, 2006  

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