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Pixies - Doolittle (Cover Artwork)

Pixies

Pixies: DoolittleDoolittle (1989)
The Pixies

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:


Contributed by: greenertongreenerton
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Ah, the Pixies. Perhaps best known for being a prime influence for such seminal bands as Nirvana, Radiohead, Weezer, Blur...and even David Bowie, the Pixies are regarded as one of the most important alternative bands of all time. With good reason. With Come On Pilgrim, the Pixies seemingly came out .
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Ah, the Pixies. Perhaps best known for being a prime influence for such seminal bands as Nirvana, Radiohead, Weezer, Blur...and even David Bowie, the Pixies are regarded as one of the most important alternative bands of all time. With good reason. With Come On Pilgrim, the Pixies seemingly came out of nowhere, with their darkly humorous lyrics and uniquely quirky but melodic sound. With Surfer Rosa they truly exploded, quickly becoming a cult hit all over the country. The album is highly regarded as their best work, and I must partially agree - the album is flawless. However, it is my perogative to call Doolittle their best.

To start with, the album's artwork is some of the finest I've ever seen. The bronze and green meld beautifully with the odd but fitting pictures. The songs are out of order in the booklet, but who cares? Gil Norton's production of the album is somewhat different than Steve Albini's. While Steve opted for a very raw, garage-like sound on Surfer Rosa, Doolittle feels more like it was recorded in the studio. It suits the album perfectly, however, and I couldn't imagine it any other way. It sounds great.

Now...onto the music!

The album opens with the relaxed yet wild "Debaser." Truly an anthemic track, the verses and chorus flawlessly meld together helped by a starting bass line from Kim Deal and a catchy guitar line from Joey Santiago. The song is even better live! But wait...what's this? Slicing up eyeballs? This my friends, is the beauty of the Pixies. Taking a wonderful, catchy melody...and essentially tricking us with dark lyrics. What's even better is the second verse, in which Frank Black replaces "I want you to know" with "ha ha ho" and adding a quick, timely, and loud uptake of breath before continuing. What other band does this kind of stuff? None, that's who.

Next up is "Tame," which is the epitome of the Pixies, in my opinion. Starting off tensely hushed with some of the oddest lyrics I've heard ("got hips like Cinderella?"), you just feel uneasy, anxious to hear what's next...and with a slight crescendo on the words, "cookie I think you're..." the chorus starts, and all hell breaks loose. Let me say now: Frank Black has the most chilling scream I've heard in my life. After the chorus and second verse, there's a short little duet of breathing words between Frank Black and Kim Deal, similar to the breathing in "Debaser" but more pronounced, and truly original. With that, the song hits its highest point, with creepy backing vocals by Ms. Deal and Frank really letting loose with his screaming. One of my favorite Pixies songs ever.

"Wave of Mutilation" is a wonderful U-turn from "Tame." Relaxed and catchy with a very soothing chorus, "Wave of Mutilation" offsets the rest of the album quite well, being the most mellow track. Also, the Pixies often played a slower version of it live, which coupled with "In Heaven" is truly awesome.

Am I the only one who thinks that Weezer's "Undone" sounds like "I Bleed?" The way the verses are done is incredibly similar, though there's nothing wrong with that. This song features some wonderful duet voicing between Frank and Kim, and a nice build up to the end.

"Here Comes Your Man" was a pretty big radio hit, and for good reason - it's probably the closest to true "pop" the Pixies have come; it's very different from any other song they've done. Super catchy, and LIGHT, "Here Comes Your Man" is another lovely change of pace on the album.

Again, a U-turn. Opening with some thundering background drumming by Dave Lovering, puncuated by a dissonant stream of repeated guitar notes, "Dead" immediately feels tense. Frank Black's muffled vocals for the first thirty seconds simply add to the tension. What follows is some odd words from Frank Black, assisted by more of Joey Santiago's dissonant guitar chords...but wait, what's this? The chorus erupts...full of melody! A shocking development to say the least, as the song chorus feels triumphant and...perfect. After some repeat verses, the chorus comes again...but this time, it's in a minor key, catching us off guard. A fantastic song.

Following the trend of eeriness is "Monkey Gone To Heaven." It's a beautiful track backed by strings and a relaxed feel, with lovely singing by Frank Black (and more nice harmonic chorus work with Kim). The infamous bridge contains the immortal words of, essentially, "If man is 5, then the devil is 6, if the devil is 6 then God is 7." Even though it's so simple that it shouldn't, these lyrics make sense, the funniest part of it all being that Frank Black said they mean nothing - and he's right. Nonetheless, a lovely track.

"Mr. Grieves" is something of a bi-polar track, starting off slowly (but eerily) with Frank Black singing, "hope everything's alriiiiiight" and melding some creepy laughter in, later speeding up to a light tempo, then slowing down again. A solid song.

"Crackity Jones" is another one of my favorites, and probably the most "standard punk" song the Pixies ever played. More creepy vocals, backed by creepy guitar playing, and a high tempo...another great song.

After the four-track stream of creepiness, another light song is almost expected. It comes with "La La Love You," which you'd think is just a joke song, but it's much more. Dave Lovering's best drumming is contained in the song, along with one of the suavest guitar line's I've heard in my life. Dave also sings the song, with simple lyrics such as "all I'm saying, pretty baby...la la love you, don't mean maybe." A nice track with some nice playing on it.

"No. 13 Baby" is my second favorite Pixies song of all time. It has everything: lovely melodies and harmonies, awesome instrumental work from everyone, and my favorite lyrics of all time from Frank Black: "Black tear falling on my lazy queen, got a tattooed tit, say number 13." Dark and odd, but so wonderfully flowing, this is in my eyes the most underrated song the Pixies have written. A masterpiece, if I may say so myself.

"There Goes My Gun" feels like filler at first, simply because it's short and doesn't contain very meaningful lyrics...but it really isn't. The instrumental work is top notch (as always) from every member of the band, and the dueting vocals of Kim Deal and Frank Black are always welcome. Otherwise a pretty standard track, short and to the point.

"Hey" is my favorite Pixies song of all time. So, I guess I'm biased, but considering the fact that the Pixies are one of my favorite bands...that would make the entire review biased, huh? But who cares about that - this song is just perfect. Starting with just Frank Black and Kim Deal's lovely bass playing, the clean, quiet guitar soon joins in the fray. Frank Black really shows off his voice in this song. When you hear him singing the words of the chorus "we're chained," it sounds like he really means what he's singing. Kim's simple "chained" echo adds more than one could possibly imagine. Joey Santiago's guitar work throughout the song is moody and essential, along with the subtle drumming from David Lovering. The bridge leads back into the chorus wonderfully, with the song subtly climaxing with Frank's pained cries of "we're chained" followed by a short ascending guitar slide. I can't put into words the feelings this song gives me.

With "Silver," we get another underrated track. Awesome stylistic guitar work helped by simple and subtle drumming, and the vocal harmonies of Frank and Kim can truly be savored. Frank's falsetto alongside Kim's faint singing sounds gorgeous.

And with that, we have reached the end of the album. "Gouge Away" closes a perfect album perfectly. Touching upon all points of the Pixies with lovely melodies and harmonies (especially in the chorus), eerie lyrics and excellent instrumental work, "Gouge Away" leaves us wanting more, but somehow satisfied at the same time.

Doolittle is one of the greatest albums ever made, at least in my eyes. It's easily in my top five, alongside albums from Weezer, the Descendents, the Velvet Underground, Bad Religion and D.I.

Thank God they've reunited, huh? Let's all hope they put out another record - hopefully more like Doolittle, less like Bossanova. Oh, and my apologies for such a long review, I considered trimming it down but I felt that doing so would be an injustice to the album. Also, if you don't think the Pixies are "punk," please don't bother responding. I mean really, who cares? They're amazing, and that's what matters.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Clash - London CallingDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitPixies - Surfer RosaWeezer - WeezerNOFX - The DeclineOperation Ivy - Operation IvyRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
smelltheglove (January 10, 2012)

What a shitty comments section for this review.

thurstonXwhore (February 13, 2007)

Jesus Christ, F for the review. That's right I give grades. This cd is cool. Poppy, edgy, blah blah. It's everything alternative can be. Bossanova was technically a better album though and I'd rather promote that shit.

Anonymous (July 19, 2005)

Heh, my apologies for the extremely long review that many of you didn't like. It was really late one night, I was bored, I was in a Pixies mood, so I wrote a review rambling on about every song. I never expected it to even be posted, hence my lack of any response to any of these comments until now. As far as what most of you have to say....the Pixies are one of my favorite bands, and have been for a while. I have a pretty wide taste, but in particular I like very dark movies, music, writing, etc...as such, the Pixies appeal to me greatly.

As for D.I., Team Goon and Ancient Artifacts are two of my favorite albums. Fun, old school So-Cal punk. I don't give a fuck if they didn't "revolutionize the music world" or anything, it's good music, and I enjoy listening to it. The same goes for the Pixies.

That's all I have to say, pretty much. And apparently it's been so long since I was on this site, my screenname was deleted. Heh.

-greenerton

Anonymous (February 18, 2005)

This album is their best! I agree
Excellent review.
Frank Black is a genius!

Anonymous (February 18, 2005)

Excellent album, but Surfer Rosa is much better!

Anonymous (February 17, 2005)

whose gonna send me a copy of a Z'nuff record?! A Burnt copy'll even do.

IM me on: I Count Poopula

i'll do it.

in fact, if all i said was "this is awful shit." it'd probably be better..but i'm up for a challenge.

-jv-

Anonymous (February 17, 2005)

im down ... do it

Anonymous (February 17, 2005)

This is the worst review i've read in a while...for christ's fucking sakes man. Stop sucking their dick and get on with it. I swear i could reviewA fucking Z'nuff record better than this piece of shit, in fact i'm so confident that if i couldn't, i will eat my own shit...any takers?

Anonymous (February 17, 2005)

This is the worst review i've read in a while...for christ's fucking sakes man. Stop sucking their dick and get on with it. I swear i could review i fucking Z'nuff record better than this piece of shit, in fact i'm so confident that if i couldn't, i will eat my own shit...any takers?

Anonymous (February 16, 2005)

what does land without bread have to do with anything? other than it's another early bunuel film...though it's one that had NO collaboration with dali.

i knew i was being whiny and somewhat silly (that's why i signed it "pretentious film student"). but i'm just trying to raise awareness. they're giving all the credit to dali, who didn't even do much on the film. okay, he was in it...for about 5 seconds. and so was bunuel.

i know dali is more of a name. that's because he started caring more about his celebrity status than his art. in my whiny, pretentious, probably ineffective way, i was trying to raise awareness of a man that, yes, is one of the most important filmmakers of all time.

i do feel silly though, as i doubt anyone here really cares. but it mattered to me. i'll try to think of a "punk rock" example.

okay, this is made up. but say, in some wacky, imaginary world, ian mackaye works on a song with bono. ian writes basically the whole song. bono sings it and records it, adding a few touches here and there, a couple new lyrics or something. then say you're at a bar and the song comes on. people start talking about this great bono song. wouldn't you be annoyed that ian isn't getting credit? it's not like the people at this particular bar know anything about fugazi or minor threat or dischord or anything, they have no idea who ian mackaye is. but you know how important a figure he is and it annoys you that nobody makes a mention of him.

wow, that was a tangent and i'm sure my analogy is full of holes. and i know it's stupid, it's just the first one that came to mind. have a nice day.

-pretentious film student

Anonymous (February 16, 2005)

An Andalusian Dog, Land Without Bread, or Assy McAssyass

Well... I suppose people could stop referring to "Un Chien Andalou" as a Dali film, but no one wants to give in to an assclown like you!!!

Your syntax is whiny and annoyingly silly. "Dali co-wrote the script. That's it. It's a Buñuel film. and Buñuel isn't exactly some unknown guy...he's one of the most important filmmakers of all time."

What?!?!? Dali co-wrote the film, that he's ALSO in. And he's a little more of a name than the director, for conversational terms on a website talking about the Pixies. And "one of the most important filmmakers of all time?"

You're absolutely absurd.

lushj (February 16, 2005)

To the whiners about having to read 1400 words- get a life. I considered myself too punk for them when this came out, but unlike similar bands (Jane's Addiction), this band grew on me thanks to that whistle song on here. (Damn you cute girls with Pixies fixations!)

The long review makes me want to actually buy the whole record now, good work. This score's for the review.

P.S.- D.I. was a GREAT band, what are you talking about? "Team Goon" and "Horse Bites Dog Cries" are two essential slabs of OC 80s punk, along with the Adolescents blue album and the Vandals "Peace Through Vandalism". Makes me wanna be an extra in "Suburbia" and grow up in OC in 1981.

Anonymous (February 16, 2005)

why don't you know review an album that didn't come out in 1989?

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

he said it was MORE adult contemporary than the pixies.

i don't think this review is pointless. maybe some kid who is looking to get into the pixies but doesn't know where to start will see this and it will be useful to that person. it's not as if then entire fucking world knows who this band is.

this is my favorite full length album by them, followed closely by surfer rosa. then trompe le monde, and i've never really loved bossanova. it had some great tracks, but it didn't grab my attention like their other stuff.

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

Needless to say...

And the guy calling Frank Black's solo stuff adult contemporary needs to really listen to all those great chord changes with all those weird chords, the crazy solos, the odd timing, the multitude of instruments, the madball singing, etc, etc.

Charles in any of his incarnations is a genius.

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

trompe le monde is the pixies best record.

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

could people please stop referring to un chien andalou as a dali film? he co-wrote the script. that's it. it's a buñuel film . and buñuel isn't exactly some unknown guy...he's one of the most important filmmakers of all time.

-pretentious film student

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

Great record. One of the very first I ever owned. However this review is utterly pointless and way too long for the quality of the writing filling it.

hobbitcore (February 15, 2005)

i wouldn't even have read this 16 years ago

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

Quite possibly the best thing ever recorded.

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

great album, too bad it's pointless to review it. Even if this guy didn't like it he'd still give it a 10. Gotta keep the scene points.

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

The greatest album ever from the greatest band ever. This blew my fucking mind when i first heard it.

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

"who is D.I.?"

do your homework before asking stupid questions on a website.

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

who is D.I.?

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

Since no one else is being an asshole and pointing out this guy can't count, I suppose I'll do it.

"It's easily in my top five, alongside albums from Weezer, the Descendents, the Velvet Underground, Bad Religion and D.I."

Plus the Pixies makes 6. It's easily in your top SIX! Not FIVE. Unless the editor just put D.I. in for a joke, which is about as believable as anyone liking them that much...

inagreendase (February 15, 2005)

To the other guy that submitted a 10-scored review of Doolittle - you got beat by about 3 weeks, sorry dude. You've got about little to no chance of yours seeing daylight.

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

In my top 5 cds of all-time.

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

In the Dali film, it's a dead cow's eye, meant to look like a girl's eye. The best part of the film, though, is when a woman shaves her armpit and the hair just reappears on this guy's chin. It's not dark. Just silly and nonsensical.

The slower version of "Wave of Mutilation" is the "UK Surf" version and was prominentlt featured in THE high school pirate radio movie, the Christian Slater vehicle, "Pump Up the Volume." Also on the soundtrack.

smitty (February 15, 2005)

Excellent album and although the review is decent it seemed far too wordy - bit of a slog. Keep it concise.

i-type-poorly (February 15, 2005)

I thought the whole "Debaser" story was comman knowledge by now... oh well. Long friggin review, when "listen to the pixes" would have been just as good.

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

Big review. Pretty decent band, I never used to like em but one of my friends made me. The bastard.

Joe

Cos (February 15, 2005)

"It's easily in my top five, alongside albums from Weezer, the Descendents, the Velvet Underground, Bad Religion and D.I."

D.I.? Really? I don't even think members of D.I. would put their own albums in the the top 5.

--Cos

swingline (February 15, 2005)

my name is greenerton and i listen to the pixies. how cool did that sound

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

i could give a 100 for both the album and the review

RedScare (February 15, 2005)

"yeah, um...you were prolly way young when this came out, so lets not call it a review. fuck why is this even here? you're rad dude. you like the pixies. way to stick your neck out there. and you think doolittles the best record? WHEW. you are breaking some boundaries tonight. isn't there a copeland show you should be attending?"

Somebody at Punknews needs to hire this guy immediately. Immediately!

joeg (February 15, 2005)

i would've liked a pie chart kind of thing like the madball review someone did awhile ago.

TahoeJeff (February 15, 2005)

I dont need a thousand fucking words to tell me what I already know...It's really fucking good would havve sufficed.

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

this album is great.
this review is very, very late (also long).

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

This review is 1454 words long....

-Chinatown

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

yeah, um...you were prolly way young when this came out, so lets not call it a review. fuck why is this even here? you're rad dude. you like the pixies. way to stick your neck out there. and you think doolittles the best record? WHEW. you are breaking some boundaries tonight. isn't there a copeland show you should be attending?

Not-To-Regret (February 15, 2005)

This is the best pixies album, maybe my favorite. The majority of their material is great, with the exception being a few of the earlier songs and b-sides. To point out the fairly obvious, Frank Black's solo stuff is a little more adult contemporary, you can see the roots of Frank Black's more mature style progressing on Trompe le Monde and his self titled debut.
All good stuff in my opinion.

joeg (February 15, 2005)

god damn that was short.

stevejonestherealbones (February 15, 2005)

this is one of my fave cds, lost it or something though.

now when i want pixies i listen to the death to the pixies double cd, that is on of the best "best of" cds ever.

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

ElVaquero (February 15, 2005)

Jesus Christ I'm never reading something this long.

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

debaser is about salvador dali's film "une chien andalou" where a girl gets her eyeball sliced up

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

this album is one of my favorite records.

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

I just submitted a review for this last night. crazy. mine was better i think

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

I've never thought they were hot shit. I think Frank Black's solo stuff is better, because a lot of it sounds like Billy Childish. I'd rather listen to Billy Childish though.

kenjamin (February 15, 2005)

what's wrong with reviewing an older release? I mean, we were all once new to punk rock and in need of a knee to the eye...

kenjamin (February 15, 2005)

as good as this band is, i think their sound is dated. The song writing stands up and they probably blew people away in 1986 but now it just seems tame.

cramer (February 15, 2005)

did anyone really need to review this album over 15 years after it was released? we've all heard it, we all know it's great, get over yourself.

hobbitcore (February 15, 2005)

sweet jesus this is the longest review ever

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