I’m only a few hours in and already my momentum is beginning to dwindle. Seriously, I have about as much get up and go as a broken drive shaft today. I’m just going to blame it on the date. My next Friday the 13th inspired album then is the amazing ‘Doolittle‘ album by the Pixies.
Why this album? Well, one what other day (other than Halloween maybe) would you want to listen to an album with such dark subject material, featuring references to surrealism, Biblical violence, torture and death.
So let’s just say that it’s not exactly what you might consider as a “happy” album.
Released in April of 1989 (Holy shit! That makes this album 27 years old!) on 4AD Records, this offering constitutes itself as the bands 2nd full length album. It spawned two singles, ‘Here Comes Your Man‘ and ‘Monkey Gone to Heaven‘, both of which were chart successes on the US chart for Modern Rock Tracks. The album itself reached #8 on the UK Albums Chart, an unexpected success for the band. In retrospect, album tracks such as ‘Debaser‘, ‘Wave of Mutilation‘, ‘Monkey Gone to Heaven‘, ‘Gouge Away‘, and ‘Hey‘ are highly acclaimed by critics, while the album, along with debut LP ‘Surfer Rosa’ (click HERE), is often seen as the band’s strongest work. In fact, the album has been cited as inspirational by many alternative artists, while numerous music publications have ranked it as one of the most influential albums ever. A 2003 poll of NME writers ranked ‘Doolittle’ as the 2nd Greatest Album of All Time, and Rolling Stone placed the album at #226 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
The album’s arty, noisy weirdness mixes with just enough hooks to produce gleefully demented singles like ‘Debaser‘, inspired by Bunuel’s classic surrealist short ‘Un Chien Andalou‘ and ‘Wave of Mutilation‘, their surfy ode to driving a car into the sea. There is still plenty of weird, abrasive vignettes: the blankly psychotic ‘There Goes My Gun‘, ‘Crackity Jones‘, a song about a crazy roommate Francis had in Puerto Rico, and the nihilistic finale ‘Gouge Away‘. Meanwhile, ‘Tame‘, and ‘I Bleed‘ continue the Pixies’ penchant for cryptic kink. It’s damn near perfection.
‘Doolittle’ is a masterpiece, in part, because it represents the group at its most cohesive, each of the four original members on the same sublime wavelength. Tension would soon tear the Pixies apart (temporarily), but there’s almost no hint of it on this album. The members sound in sync, and triumphantly so.
Now, if only these numbers I’ve been staring at for the past four hours would start making sense.