Pixies

The best part of getting into music while growing up is the constant sense of discovery. This feeling disappears as the years go by. Most adults who spend a lot of time and money on music know the lay of the cultural land. The new albums we hear (or that I hear, anyway) come with heaps of info — press clippings, band bios, membership histories, label tags, and countless other bits of data. But as kids, we’re still vulnerable to the happy surprises that come with context-free songs and albums.
 
I miss this phase in my musical upbringing. Now that it’s over, I’ll likely never have another experience like the one I had with Pixies. A friend introduced them to me by way of Surfer Rosa when I was about 14. I knew nothing about them, and couldn’t really place them in a genre. The short, fast songs said punk rock, which I was familiar with. But Pixies sounded too happy to be punk, and the songs weren’t about politics or anything else I could make sense of.  (That they sung in Spanish half the time didn’t help.) I just knew that I liked whatever it was that they were doing.
 
At the time, I hadn’t heard producer Gary Smith’s famous Pixies epigram: “I’ve heard it said about The Velvet Underground that while not a lot of people bought their albums, everyone who did started a band. I think this is largely true about the Pixies as well.” I didn’t know that many of the more popular bands I listened to at the time owed them a huge debt: Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, (early) Radiohead, and Nirvana, who famously modeled “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on Pixies’ soft/loud dynamic. I had no clue that Pixies had verged on breaking into real rock stardom, and had even opened for U2 on an early-’90s tour. I didn’t know that Steve Albini had recorded Surfer Rosa, that he had slammed them in the press a few years later, or that he later publicly (and even sincerely!) expressed regret for doing so. Hell, I didn’t know who Steve Albini was. Black Francis’s erudite lyrics in particular escaped me; his puns and allusions mostly soared over my early-teen head.  
 
It was a joy to uncover this oddball band’s story bit by bit over the years that followed. It made sense to me that Pixies would be a bigger deal than I had initially realized. They had the requisite ingredients, after all: Joey Santiago’s snaggletoothed surf riffs; Kim Deal’s stoic rhythms and ghostly voice; Dave Lovering’s herk-a-jerk drumming; and Black Francis’s big voice out front, as elastic and unstable as a Loony Tune. These four elements could have catastrophically exploded at any time, but Francis’s ruthless pop sensibility (only five songs exceeding four minutes in their whole career!) kept them bottled up for seven productive years.
 
Unlike so many of their peers, Pixies were a band without a program. Francis, with his love for surrealism, would never have let himself be bound to something so limiting and rigid as an ideology. In the absence of concrete politics, Pixies overflowed with personality — they had so many charming quirks that, to appropriate a line from Doctor Who, they could have opened a charming-quirk shop. Like most real people, Pixies were far more unpredictable than their formal and technical limits suggested. And like the supernatural tricksters that gave them their name, they were all the more charming for it.
 
Pixies recorded some 70 songs during their run, and few of them qualify as less than killer. Choosing just 10 tunes from that larder of awesomeness was torture, but it was a good hurt — memories came back to me with each album. I aimed to choose ten songs that each represent a different facet of Pixies’ zany character. But, as always with them, interpretations and results may vary. Let’s hear your favorites in the comments.


 

10. “I’ve Been Tired” from Come On Pilgrim (1987)

 
A few years before Pixies formed, Black Francis spent six months in Puerto Rico studying Spanish. It was a formative experience for him. You can hear echoes of the trip throughout the band’s catalog, including in this gem from Come On Pilgrim, their debut mini-LP.
 
Musically, “I’ve Been Tired” is an early exemplar of the bopping/blaring contrasts that would come to define Pixies — it’s springy ska verse gives no hint of the pounding chorus to follow. It’s the lyrics that drive this tune, though; “I’ve Been Tired” is one of Francis’s funniest and most voluble efforts. The narrator (presumably Francis during his time in Puerto Rico) tries to stave off a sexually aggressive leftist girl without calling his own manliness into question: “Please, I’m a humble guy with healthy desire / Don’t give me no shit, because I’ve been tired!”
 
Characteristically, Francis manages to sneak an erudite reference into the proceedings. The song’s most striking image — “breasts like a cluster of grapes” — comes straight from the “Song Of Solomon,” a Biblical erotic poem Francis name-checks a few lines later.
 

9. “Planet Of Sound” from Trompe Le Monde (1991)

 
Trompe Le Monde, Pixies’ final album, is something of an aberration in their catalog. Black Francis’s creative control was at its tightest here, and Kim Deal features less prominently than elsewhere. The band itself was tight too — Trompe Le Monde features Pixies’ most professional-sounding instrumental performance. Longtime producer Gil Norton equipped it with crisp, beefy tones that differed noticeably from the ragged sonics of their earlier work.
 
Judging by “Planet Of Sound,” Pixies would’ve made one hell of a mainstream radio-rock band if they’d wanted to. Its classic-rock-escapee chorus riff would’ve flopped on an earlier album; here, it sounds muscular and mean beneath Francis’s fuming vocal hook. Joey Santiago’s rote blues solo works the same way — conservative, but effective in context.
 
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Pixies song if they played these ingredients straight, and so strangeness creeps in. “Planet Of Sound” crams three verse-chorus iterations into just two minutes, dispensing with the AOR indulgences implied by that chorus riff. Francis’s phasered vocals inhabit the mind of an itchy-footed alien. Like most of his best work, the lyrics suggest many interpretations while endorsing none. I prefer to think of them as autobiographical — even now, Francis still hasn’t found the planet of sound.
 

 

8. “Oh My Golly!” from Surfer Rosa (1988)

 
Though Black Francis took his influential trip to Puerto Rico to pursue Spanish fluency, he never quite mastered the language. His imperfect understanding never stopped him from regularly penning Spanish lyrics, as he did on this bizarre Surfer Rosa cut.
 
Aside from its titular refrain, “Oh My Golly!” is sung entirely in Spanish. If you speak the language — or if you’re like me and can use Google, despite lacking Spanish proficiency — you’ll figure out pretty quickly that “Oh My Golly!” is lyrically unambitious, by Pixies standards. The narrator is a beach bum with a girlfriend named Rosa; he sexually disappoints her; he feels like crap.
 
Musically, though, “Oh My Golly!” is one of Pixies’ wackier experiments. It opens with a 5/4 tom beat that disappears after just a few repetitions. Raging surf-punk (with non-distorted guitars!) and Francis’s bilingual ranting roar in to replace it. And then there’s the chorus, which loops every eleven beats. Not that you’d notice all these tics without looking for them — they exist only to support an ear-worm chorus: “Rosa! Oh-whoa-whoa-whoa Rosa!”
 
 
 

7. “Velouria” from Bossanova (1990)

 
Because Pixies were such frugal songwriters, it’s easy to miss their experimental bent. They used unconventional tactics frequently but subtly. Even the weird stuff slavishly serves the song.
 
“Velouria” is both Bossanova’s strongest track and a great example of Pixies’ disciplined adventurism. It features a theramin, the early electronic instrument whose warble brings spookiness to countless early science-fiction movies. Most bands would spotlight the shit out of a theramin guest appearance. Like a violin or a bagpipe, it’s not the kind of instrument that you can easily hide.
 
But true to Pixies form, “Velouria” doesn’t ballyhoo the theramin. It’s not even the first thing you notice about the song — that would be Joey Santiago’s shimmering riff, the triumphant chorus, or even its lyrics (an ode to an unshaven Northwestern hippie girl … who might be a time traveler). The theramin hovers around the margins throughout, providing counterpoint to Francis’s vocals and sustaining Bossanova’s sci-fi vibe.

 
 

6. “U-Mass” from Trompe Le Monde (1991)

 
Whenever people talk about Black Francis’s lyrics, his bent sense of humor comes up quickly. The jokey fragments and hidden references are usually the icing on the cake — an extra giggle atop a song that otherwise carries itself just fine.
 
On “U-Mass,” the entire band gets in on the act. Francis and Joey Santiago met at the University of Massachusetts’s main campus in Pioneer Valley. Evidently they did not think much of their classmates; the song lampoons the scholarly pretension and vapid hedonism of the school’s social world. Francis implies that the student body is no better than the reactionaries they rail against: “And redneckers, they get us pissed / And stupid stuff, it makes us shout.”
 
“U-Mass” wouldn’t be such a pitch-perfect parody without appropriate accompaniment. The song’s main riff, which was purportedly written while Francis and Santiago were still in school during the early ’80s, is a hip-thrusting sendup of the day’s party rock (and, I suspect, a nod to forerunners that influenced Francis). Its cowbell-driven backbeat completes the satire. “U-Mass” demonstrates that even deliberate schlock can get stuck in your head. It’s educational, indeed.
 

 

5. “Wave Of Mutilation” from Doolittle (1989)

 
Black Francis’s fascination with surrealism manifested itself mostly in his lyrics. In one interview, Francis compared himself to the surrealist director David Lynch, who purportedly made his movies without really knowing what they meant. Ironically, Francis often knew exactly what he was talking about in his lyrics; his subjects were often just too weird or too fragmentary for most other folks to interpret accurately.
 
Without a bit of authorial perspective, “Wave Of Mutilation” is borderline indecipherable. It deals with a false suicide and with living in a fantastical sea, but otherwise eludes interpretation. Francis, though, had a specific meaning in mind when he wrote the song — he revealed in one interview that the protagonist is a disgraced Japanese businessman who tries to kill himself and his family by driving off of a pier. The only hint in the lyrics themselves is the presence of the Marianas Trench, which is near Japan. At least, that’s one interpretation; in other interviews, Francis has said variously that the song is about “sea currents and nice animals” or “nothing.”
 
A definitive answer isn’t required to appreciate “Wave Of Mutilation.” The song offers fabulous pop charms on its own. Even its double-time chorus lays back, as relaxed as its newly liberated narrator.
 
 
 

4. “Broken Face” from Surfer Rosa (1988)

 
Lots of rock bands talk about sex, and Pixies were no exception. It’s a lyrical pillar for the genre; there’s a reason the famous Ian Dury tune wasn’t called “Leftist Politics & Drugs & Rock & Roll.” But Black Francis, in his characteristically mischievous way, wrote about sex in the ickiest ways he could devise, often tingeing steamy lines with implied violence or incest.
 
“Broken Face” uses dollops of both. They appear in the disturbing verse that follows the scratched-record opening refrain: “There was a boy who had two children with his sisters / They were his daughters / They were his favorite lovers.”  Then, in the second verse: “There was this man who snapped his poke in little pieces / And then they drilled holes / And then they put ’em back in there.” True to its word, “Broken Face” adds facial disfigurement to forcible incest and genital mutilation with its chorus: “I’ve got no lips, I’ve got no tongue / Where there were eyes, there’s only space.”
 
None of this stuff would be remarkable in a metal or industrial song, where dire subjects commonly accompany dire music. But “Broken Face” sounds fun; its rollicking chorus is among the most infectious in a catalog full of catchy choruses. This song leaves you feeling dirty but satisfied, like an illicit shag should.
 
 
 

3. “Where Is My Mind?” from Surfer Rosa (1988)

 
Thanks to its appearance in the credits of Fight Club, this tune has likely reached more ears than any other song Pixies ever recorded. Fight Club came out six years after Pixies broke up, and the film exposed this strange, singular band to a younger and broader audience. Pixies probably owe director David Fincher a beer or two for helping to perpetuate their legend.
 
He certainly could’ve chosen a worse song to represent Pixies. “Where Is My Mind?” evokes an unusual mood for a band that so often pushed itself deep into the red. It drifts instead of rages; Pixies lay off the throttle so much that Black Francis’s acoustic-guitar rhythm strumming is actually audible. Joey Santiago’s unforgettable lead lick is wistful on its own, but Kim Deal’s bathroom-’verbed backing vocals are haunting enough to summon up dead relatives and absent friends. The chorus sounds like a lament; Francis actually misses that mind of his.
 
Francis’s lyrics shy away from transparency, as usual. It’s tempting to impose meaning on their Rorschach-blot vagueness — Francis has said publicly that the second verse comes directly from a literal experience SCUBA-diving in the Caribbean, but everything else defies clear interpretation. Thanks to the Fight Club connection, this song probably stumped precocious teenagers all over the country back in ’99.  Fortunately for the rest of us, it communicates plenty even without words.
 
 
 

2. “Debaser” from Doolittle (1989)

 
Pixies defined themselves with contrasts. They didn’t rely strictly on quiet-versus-loud; they set fast against slow, direct against deceptive, and cheery against creepy. “Debaser” deploys this last tension to brilliant effect.
 
If you listen to “Debaser” without paying attention to the lyrics, you’ll probably conclude that it’s a happy song. If anything, it sounds a little too happy — there’s an undercurrent of mania. Dave Lovering drives the sunny melody to a caffeinated allegro; Santiago’s guitar chimes away idiotically; Francis screams himself to ecstasy in the verse. “Debaser” smiles broadly, but you can hear molars grinding behind the grill.
 
That’s where Francis’s lyrics come in. “Debaser” is as clipped and elliptical as anything in the Pixies catalog, but it makes great use of its limited space. Francis was fascinated with surrealist films during the years leading up to the recording of Doolittle, and this song marks the apex of his obsession. He gets hot and bothered over a particularly gruesome scene from Salvador Dalí’s 1929 film Un Chien Andalou: “Got me a movie, I want you to know / Slicin’ up eyeballs, I want you to know / Girlie so groovy, I want you to know / Dunno about you, but I am un chien Andalou.” His Freudian freakout is our windfall; “Debaser” is one of the most instantly classic songs Pixies ever recorded.
 

 

1. “Tame” from Doolittle (1989)

 
I know what you’re thinking: a seemingly throwaway track like “Tame” has no business at the top of this list. Understandable; it doesn’t often get trotted out alongside Pixies’ best-known numbers. Nonetheless, I maintain that this is the quintessential Pixies tune and a master class in everything that made them great.
 
Like many Pixies songs, “Tame” sticks to a strict pop song structure: verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus-chorus. But despite its conventional layout, “Tame” renders itself unpredictable with a simple trick. Though the song is written in rock’s customary 4/4, each riff in the song lasts for three four-beat measures, instead of four. This counterintuitive pattern makes each transition a rude surprise.
 
And what transitions they are. Pixies’ signature dynamic reaches its apotheosis here; saying that “Tame” goes from quiet to loud is like saying that Mount St. Helens went from cool to warm on May 18, 1980. Its explosive chorus is just as infernally catchy as it is violent, despite the vocal hook consisting of just one screeched word: “TAME! TAME! TAME! TAME! TAME!” Francis’s lyrics are as sardonically sexy as ever; he and Kim Deal pant in lascivious unity during the bridge.
 
“Tame” has it all: sex, violence, whispering, moaning, screaming, funny timing, backing vocals, snarky commentary, a riveting refrain, and the famous soft/loud. Remarkably, it packs everything into less than two minutes. This compressed maximalism was a major point of pride for Francis — he once told Gil Norton that “If it’s good enough for Buddy Holly, it’s good enough for me.”

//

Listen to this playlist on Spotify.

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Comments (146)
  1. Here Comes Your Man… No?

    • Don’t you know how this works? The expected, Pandora Radio-streaming choices don’t get on here, even if they actually should be.

      • Listen, kiddo’s. I am a grouchy old man and un-hip as they come, but I have listened to the Pixies for nearly 20 years and I love every song that they ever recorded, including “Here Comes Your Man.” Hell, for years, that song was my wife’s ring-tone for me, so there’s even nostalgia tied in there.

        But, “Here Comes Your Man” has no business being in the top 10. That is not to reject the popular song just for cool points. I have no cool points left in my life. I honestly have spent thousands of hours listening to the Pixies and at no point was “Here Comes Your Man” in my top 25 songs by them. It really is a song that belongs completely to the time it was recorded. It fit with the radio culture of 1989 (that bass line is bubblegum) and it makes sense that it got popular (“popular” in a certain sense of the word), but the greatness of the Pixies lies in their strange timelessness.

        Anyway, for my ears, no band has ever approached their combination of strangeness, accessibility, and ability to rock. Their have been albums here there (‘Apologies to the Queen Mary” and “Meet Me at the Muster Station” come to mind) that had that Pixies-ish spark of excitement, but no band did it as well and for as long as they did.

        Now, get off my lawn!

        • Nicely done, Doug.

          I wasn’t even saying that the song necessarily should be on the list, I was just being a bit of a wise-ass…’cause, I mean, isn’t that part of the reason the internet exists? Well, that and the unwillingness to go broke paying for porn.

          That being said, I’d agree with most of the list. I dig some “Monkey Gone to Heaven”, too.

          And…pree forn.

        • I see what you mean. I’m still pretty young and have only been a Pixies fan for 3 or 4 years. At the risk of sounding like a dickhead, I know that when you really get into a band, you kind of get past the easily accessible songs and go deeper. I’m probably still at that early stage. But at the moment, for me, Here Comes Your Man is one hell of a song.

          Digging the Unicorns avatar btw.

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  3. Picking ten best Pixies songs is like picking ten best Beatles songs. Their discography is so consistent that you could take a stranger off the street that’s never heard their music and have them pick 10 random songs from a list and 90% of their fans would probably find little fault with it. That said, “No. 13 Baby” is clearly the best thing Frank Black ever wrote. The last 1:30 or so is one of the most beautiful things in rock history: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDt42Vs-teI

  4. I predict some arguments.

  5. “I know what you’re thinking: a seemingly throwaway track like ‘Tame’ has no business at the top of this list.”
    pretty much yah

  6. “This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven” No? Really?

    • woozefa  |   Posted on Sep 20th, 2012 +45

      not til you learn the actual name of the song.

      • Ok… But still, can’t see why it didn’t make the list.

      • Dear Grumpy old man. I made my list below. My personal opinion is that all ten songs should be from the 1st three albums. I looked at it from many ways and tried my best to make a list that would represent the majority of fans. For that reason as well as it’s popularity when ever I have seen them play the song live it deserves a spot on the list. Everyone’s list is going to vary 1-10 but there are a few key Pixies tracks that can not be left off. One being, “Here Comes Your Man” And I am not saying that the other albums don’t have some solid tracks but nothing compared to the 1st three. If I had chose 10 that were my personal favourites my list would have been different. You are huffing glue if you don’t think it should fall in the top 25? That’s bull!

  7. “Dig for Fire”

    Also, “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and “Gouge Away” are the “My Girls” and “Fireworks” of this list.

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  9. Pixies deserve a top 20 or 25

  10. Hey, Gigantic, and Monkey Gone to Heaven . And sure Tame might be the best example of a good Pixies song, but that doesn’t make it the best song.

  11. Having “Tame” at no.1 just fits. Whenever I think of the Pixies I think of a few things. I think of Kim Deal, soft and soothing verses with bombarding choruses, and flat out chaos. With “Tame,” you get all of that. Francis is loud and disruptive, literally wetting the mic with excess spit coming from his yelling; Kim throws in a bouncy bass line and cute “ah hah hah’s” during the breakdown; the chorus makes you want to trash your room; and the opening line “hips like Cinderella” makes me want to pick up a pen and write. I have trouble with lists because of their subjective matter, but this one made my day.

  12. another top ten list on stereogum…… please cue the message board Statler and Waldorf’s

  13. A TOP TEN LIST FOR A BAND I ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT! And it’s not awful! You even got I’ve Been Tired! And Oh My Golly. And the highlights from Doolittle (apart from Gouge Away (and what am I saying that whole album is a highlight.)

    Shoutout to “In Heaven (Live)” though. And “Into the White”.

  14. Only one song off Bossanova on the list? The Happening?

    • i really like bossanova but i still probably prefer the worst songs on doolittle to the best ones on bossanova.

      • I love the sound on Bossanova; the reverb drenched guitar made it sound so spacey and dreamy. Plus, they did some great stuff with song-structures that they really had not done before. “The Happening” and “All Over the World” really veered down unexpected paths and got a little prog-rock-esque even.

  15. BONE MACHINE. BONE MACHINE. BONE MACHINE. GTFO.

  16. Good call on “Tame”, that is a pretty quintessential Pixies song. Although this list is kind of pointless because 95% of Pixies songs are great so their 47th best song is about as good as their best song.

  17. Number 13 Baby, Gigantic, River Euphrates, Ed is Dead, Caribou.

    I mean, I can’t disagree with any of the songs chosen really, but those ones are just better.

  18. Cactus and Caribou!!

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  20. Dead is their best song

  21. Trompe Le Monde is on this list two too many times.

    Don’t get me wrong. Not bad by normal standards, but by Pixies standards, its unnecessary.

  22. Not enough love for Bossanova. The breakdown at the end of “The Happening” is one of the most transcendent moments in indie rock.

  23. This article should have just been named ‘Pixies best songs’ and the only thing you’d have to write would be ‘all of them.’ That would have been way easier and in no way contentious at all.

  24. Ana is the most beautiful for me

  25. Is there such a thing as a bad Pixies song?

  26. Shit, “Tony’s Theme” is better than “Tame”.

  27. There is no doubt that all these are classics, but COME ON.

    GIGANTIC? RIVER EUPHRATES? Black Francis can sing about hermaphrodite sex all he wants and that’s awesome, but the best Pixies song is a Kim song, and I say this without being Kim-obsessive.

  28. dig for fire, hey, something against you, gigantic, all over the world, i bleed, la la love you…

    …no, fuck this. it can’t be done. a valiant effort, stereogum.

  29. ive done security for frank and his wifes band and even bagged franks groceries many times. He used to live in my hometown. Anyways, no list of Pixies best songs would be complete without No. 13 baby. One of the best outros of any song ever.

  30. Alec Eiffel. Right?

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    • Just needed to correct myself. In my haste I put through instead of throw. My mistake. And I want to give honourable mention to “Hey” Which could easily be put on the list with no arguments from me!

    • Wait, a second there. Is there a version of “In Heaven (Lady in the Radiator Song)” that Kim sings? I’ve heard the BBC version, the Live version on the Complete “B” Sides, and I think I’ve watched a video or two of it, but I’ve never heard Kim sing it.

      • Every Concert I have seen – 4 since the reunion Kim has sung it – Amazing!!!! I remember the first time she played it. It blew me away. I bought copies of the Concerts I attended through their site and Have it. If you want it just send me your email address and i will pass it along!

    • I should have put Hey in place of the Holiday Song. A minus 6 rating is crap. There are many great songs on all the albums but the Best are on the 1st three albums! And No one putting Vamos – you guys are lame as hell. The Lyrics and Joey’s Beer can or drum stick guitar solo. “All my Son’s will be well hung”

  32. I’m glad they put I’ve Been Tired on the list but no matter how good “Tame” is, it’s definitely not their best song. That would be “Hey”.

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  34. As a current UMass student, I love that you guys threw that song on this list. Killer track, wonderful summary of life at the University. I guess I’d add Caribou, but who am I to judge.

  35. Great lists – thanks.

  36. The omissions of both “Here Comes Your Man” and “Monkey Gone to Heaven” are shocking to me. Still, it’s hard to make these lists for bands with such a great discography.

  37. HOLY shit, Tame at #1? Fuck, I love you Stereogum. Just wanna eat you up.

  38. No… I mean… wait…

    OK, 100% genuine and honest question here (with respect to Wesley Morgan Paraham); do you HONESTLY think that ‘Tame’ is a better song than the other songs on your list, all of the other suggestions in the comments and the entirety of the remainder of the Pixies catalogue, or is it just YOUR personal favorite?

    Because, man, there is a HUGE difference between the two.

    I can respect that it’s your PERSONAL favorite Pixies song. But I can’t get behind your belief that it’s the best song they ever created, if that’s truly the case.

    • Lists like these are always the favorites of the authors. Is ‘Tame’ the absolute best that Pixies has to over? Nope. Nopenope. Not even close. If anything, it’s ‘Debaser’. But, is it my personal favorite? Absolutely.

      Besides, any kind of criticism of anything ever is opinion-based anyway. Especially lists. Lists are pretty much what journalists do when they’re bored.

      • Mmmm, I don’t know if I can agree with you completely. Because a lot of what you’re saying is based on your own assumptions.

        The author clarifying the intention of his list – ‘this is a list of my favorite Pixies songs’, verses, ‘the Pixies’ ten best songs’ – makes a HUGE difference. As it is being presented right now it appears that the author believes these ARE the ten best songs the Pixies created.

        Also, journalists, unless they say otherwise, by nature and by need, ARE actually espousing what they believe to be ‘the truth’. Otherwise it becomes an editorial or a review.

        Lastly, you said, ‘any kind of criticism of anything ever is opinion-based anyway’. No, you are wrong. Not an opinion, fact. Absolute statements like that never hold water. SOME criticism of SOME THINGS is opinion based.

        • Of course the author believes that these are the ten best Pixies songs, therefore he presents it as such. That’s what most people do when they talk about the ‘best’ this and the ‘best’ that: “What do I like the most? This kind of stuff is literally impossible to do objectively.

          And let me clarify my last statement — yes, criticism can be based in fact, but the end result, being the review, is ultimately whatever the critic believes to be true about whatever it is he or she is critiquing.

  39. somethin about alec Eiffel always rubbed me the right way. smoooth.

  40. Gouge Away?
    Hey?
    Alec Eiffel?
    Nimrod’s Son?

  41. Come on! How can you not include Alec Eiffel!?

  42. What’s the point of these top 10s? I don’t understand what they are for, other than fans telling you off for getting it the wrong way.

    • To make a fun read and to start a discussion. Personally I use them as a way of thinking, wow, it’s been too long since I played any Pixies and off I go and play them.

  43. Ridiculous to exclude “Where Is My Mind?” and “Monkey Gone To Heaven”, two of their signature, most popular songs. My list would be:

    (10) Debaser
    (9) Break My Body
    (8) Wave of Mutilation
    (7) Here Comes Your Man
    (6) Velouria
    (5) Hey
    (4) I Bleed
    (3) Bone Machine
    (2) Where Is My Mind?
    (1) Monkey Gone To Heaven

    • I really don’t think that “Monkey Gone to Heaven” is a no-brainer to make the list, though. It’s a good song, but I would not consider it one of my top 20 favorites. That song and “Here Comes Your Man” are two songs that seem to belong more to that moment in time, whereas some of their other songs have a strange weirdness that is timeless.

      The timelessness of some of their stuff reminds me of the qualities of Black Francis’s often-cited loved director, David Lynch. Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet also have that strange otherworldly quality that belong to no specific time-period, but have plenty of uncanny references to actual time periods that unsettle you.

      • You hit the nail on the head w/ Where is your mind?? Totally makes the whole top ten a joke. But the Surfer Rosa version of Vamos is my ALL TIME FAV. Not sure why it isn’t getting any love from other fans

    • Which Wave of Mutilation. Neither the guy who did the original list nor you said if you are talking about UK Surf version or Doolittle

  44. “Where Is My Mind?” is #3, silly.

  45. From reading the notes on each song he’s put, it seems like he’s chosen them based on how innovative and “out-there” they are. “Oh My Golly!” is sung in Spanish and has an irregular time signature. So what?! Doesn’t make it top 10 worthy!

    Also confused as to why Planet of Sound is in there, it’s always been my least favourite…

  46. Gigantic, Stormy Weather, Cecilia Anne, Something Against You?

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