Pixies - Doolittle
“Don’t know about you, but I am un chien andalusia”
Loud. Soft. Loud. Soft verse. Bombastic chorus. Thrumming bass. Spider web guitars. Black screams. Punk. Surrealism. No fucks. Screams. Noise. Creamy Pop Melodies—Welcome to Doolittle, released in 1989 by Black Francis and his band of Pixies.
Humanity at its best is an equation of influences, where the sum is greater than the parts. Boston-born legends, The Pixies (or just “Pixies,” if you fall on that side of the ridiculous argument), is like the Velvet Underground, Sex Pistols and Ramones: a lodestone of influence. Doolittle is a cipher for the ‘90s, and listening to the dynamics, sounds, and lyrics of this landmark album creates a punk time warp. You’re suddenly listening to every punk album, and no punk album at the same time.
The timelessness and influence of this album is a direct result of the extremity of execution, playing on the spectral ends of expression. Most famously, the soft verse, loud chorus format (repurposed so effectively later on by Kurt Cobain) dictates the emotional movements of this album like a bipolar power chord. There are moments of sweet melody such as on “Here Comes Your Man,” and violent meaningless on tracks like “I Bleed.” The album is emotionally and musically black and white and at constant war with itself.
You’re suddenly listening to every punk album, and no punk album at the same time
That tension makes Doolittle timeless, and a perpetual engine for listenability. Yes, the music follows predictable paths–as punk often does–but Black Francis’s lyricism is often variable, surreal, and rich. Featuring references to Dali’s classic Un Chien Andalou, sexual deviance, and the destruction of the environment, the result often swirls and cuts like a cloud through a moon—or a box cutter through a cow’s eye. It’s pure Id, with all the basic elements and primal impulses of existence. And that primality contributes to its endless appeal and influence.
When the world is swirling and miasmic, and the handholds you reach for disappear, you need to embrace that sense of the floor falling out from under you. That’s why this album will always have a place. It’s not topical. It doesn’t make sense in the ways we consider to be sensible. It exists on its own plane. Timelessness never felt so awesome.
Until the monkey goes to heaven