Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Top 10 Pixies Songs Of All Time

The Pixies are one of the most influential bands of all time.  Period.  Whether you know them from 'Where Is My Mind?' which played at during the final scene of Fight Club, or the recent iPhone commercial featuring various musicians (and even a marching band) covering 'Gigantic', this is a band worth knowing.  Kurt Cobain wasn't shy of talking about the influence they had on him, which is kind of a big deal.  A few months ago there was all this talk about who is on the 'Mount Rushmore' of the NBA which led to various other 'Mount Rushmore' discussions, but if there is an indie music Mount Rushmore, the Pixies are certainly up there with Arcade Fire (guaranteed after that Grammy win) and 2 other bands out of many which can be an argument on this blog for another day.  Since they are from Boston and recently released their first album since I was 14 months old, I've decided to compile my list of the top 10 songs by the Pixies.

10. Caribou (Come On Pilgrim, 1987)- This is one song that could easily be at the very opening of a movie to really set a mood.  It has a somewhat unsure start to it and eventually builds into almost an adventurous sort of beat.  I also always liked the somewhat eerie wailing each time 'Caribouuuuu' is sung.

9. Snakes (Indie Cindy, 2014)- The guitars in this song basically cleared away any doubts people had about whether or not the Pixies still had it after not releasing an album in 23 years.  It is somewhat of a statement song in the fact that it showcases that there is no rust, and that also that the Pixies didn't rush their comeback album like some bands do (Strokes, Taking Back Sunday).  This song is still new and isn't quite a classic yet, but I felt that it should make this list.  Also, A++++++ on the music video.  A bit creepy but definitely interesting.

8. Break My Body (Surfer Rosa, 1988)- I really don't know if this is the proper terminology since I'm not a musician, but the only term I think fits this song is raw.  I always thought it was a bit disturbing when there is a line 'I'm a building jumper, roof to roof you see me flying in the air' when the chorus is 'Break my body, hold my bones, hold my bones'.  It just doesn't seem like a happy ending for the building jumper, which always puts the notion of a daredevil who met his unfortunate demise in my head when I hear it.

7. Wave of Mutilation (Doolittle, 1989)- Hey it's that song from Rock Band!!!  Man I miss that game and the sweet plastic drum set.  Moving on, this song almost has a cheery feel to it even though it's a song about mutilation, which is as far from a cheery subject as possible.  This song always stood out to me when it came to drums.  I just feel like the drums are prominent in this more so than other Pixies song which I think most people associate with guitars and the back and forth between male and female voices in songs.  Wave of Mutilation shows that sometimes disturbing topics can be fun in music.  Also was a fitting a choice to name their greatest hits album after.

6. Here Comes Your Man (Doolittle, 1989)- For a while I often wondered if this song was a cover from an old doo-wop song.  This song just seems so different from other Pixies songs with that 1950's feel to it, but it is so damn catchy.  Kim Deal's backing vocals make a big difference in this song and I think it kinda showcases how important she was to the Pixies.  I think this is the most pop-y of all Pixies songs.

5. Dig For Fire (Bossanova, 1990)- This song certainly fits in the weird early 90's indie-pop scene.  This song stands out as it's about an old woman and an old man looking for purpose as time marches on for them.  In a way it puts optimism into a somewhat bleak idea of getting older and asking yourself "what now?" Dig For Fire is a softer Pixies song than most, which also helps make it stand out, but it is still catchy as all hell.

4. Holiday Song (Come On Pilgrim, 1987)- I always liked how this song has a sort of Spanish flair to it, which the Pixies have used on different occasions.  This also has some classic Black Francis wailing/screaming in it.  It's shorter and a bit more compact but it works in that sense because it makes you wish there was another minute or two of it remaining every time it ends.

3. Where Is My Mind? (Surfer Rosa, 1988)- By far the essential Pixies song due to it's popularity.  That slow, soft intro that morphs into a kind of simple drum beat and easy guitar sound is iconic now this song is over 25 years old.  Those distinctive oooooooooh's give it a Pixies trademark but also gives it a eerie feel that something may be off, in the best way imaginable.  SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN FIGHT CLUB, THIS IS A WARNING, DO NOT READ IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SPOILED:  this might be the most fitting song in a movie scene, ever.  As buildings blow up across the skyline and Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter hold hands and watch all the chaos ensue, hearing 'Where Is My Mind?' really wraps up the end of the movie with the whole split personality thing.  The Narrator/Tyler Durden really has no idea where his mind is, but he accomplished Tyler Durden's goals, even if the Narrator knows it's not good.

2. Gigantic (Surfer Rosa, 1988)- This song is simplistic in terms of a theme, as it's pretty clear it's about an interracial relationship (and perhaps a certain part of the male anatomy), but that opening bass line and laid back voice of Kim Deal's voice telling a story is amazing.  It hooks you in real quick and then the song kicks into a good ol' fashioned rock song.  It's almost like a rollercoaster ride of calm and then intense, but it works out so well together, which makes it special in my own opinion.  Also, this song is 26 years old and is currently in a new 90 second ad for an iPhone, showing that it is still relevant today and shouldn't be ignored by all people who enjoy awesome music.

1. Debaser (Doolittle, 1989)- This is one of those songs that I could listen to on repeat for days on end and never get sick of it.  I love the tempo and the backing vocals of Kim Deal closely echoing (almost not letting Black Francis finish at times) 'debaser' throughout the song.  The drumming by David Lovering is on point and the guitar is catchy as all hell and is there throughout the whole song.  I think this showcases Joey Santiago as an amazing guitarist.  It has everything in this song, from a opening bass line, some subtle screaming, it's ability to be catchy, and the back and forth of a guy and girl singing.  I am a firm believer that this song represents the Pixies in the right manner: one of the best bands ever.

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