With lyrics that range from musings on the Eiffel Tower to thoughts on the nature of space, The Pixies clearly transcend the categories of pop, punk, and rock 'n' roll. Their songs, which vacillate between light, almost airy pop tunes and... [more]
With lyrics that range from musings on the Eiffel Tower to thoughts on the nature of space, The Pixies clearly transcend the categories of pop, punk, and rock 'n' roll. Their songs, which vacillate between light, almost airy pop tunes and grinding, sci-fi punk, might as well have come from another planet.
The band came together in 1987, headed by Black Francis (born Charles Johnson) and Joey Santiago, who were friends since their college days in Massachusetts. With Kim Deal on bass and David Lovering on drums, they put out an EP called "Come on Pilgrim" in 1987, which eventually morphed into their first full-length album, 1988's "Surfer Rosa." These early albums boast an edgy, arty sound that shifts from hard to soft as Kim Deal's blissful background vocals hiss beneath Black Francis' reptilian voice and outlandish lyrics. Songs like "Where is My Mind?" and "Gigantic" became immediate hits on the college radio circuit, starting a buzz about The Pixies' irresistible, indie-crunch sound.
Some people call "Doolittle" (1989) The Pixies' best album. Here The Pixies are closer to pop, the carefree delivery of dark lyrics creating songs that play like a mermaid in urban mire. An odd, inhuman emotion and a lighthearted wit emerge in the lyrics to tracks like "Monkey Gone to Heaven": "There was a guy. An underwater guy who ruled the sea. He got killed by ten million pounds of sludge from New York and New Jersey." Though the album was a success in both the U.S. and the U.K., The Pixies were far more accepted by the Brits, who pushed the album to number eight on the music charts.
The Pixies' last release, "Trompe le Monde" (1991), is a hard album, moving toward a return to rock 'n' roll and punk. Black Francis put an end to The Pixies, returning to music a few years later as Frank Black. Kim Deal also embarked on a new project, joining up with her twin sister Kelly to form The Breeders. But in the four years that the band members endured each other, they created a new form of popular music that lent its alternative leanings to the future guitar-grinds of bands like Nirvana. [show less]