60 ALBUMS @ 60 : #22


Pixies – Death To The Pixies (1997)

What the actual?   No Surfa Rosa or  Doolittle??????

In fact, the former would have been ruled out as I didn’t own a copy until a few years after it came out, but the latter was very much up for consideration.  But it is impossible to ignore the merits of this, the first best-of compilation, released to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the debut EP, Come On Pilgrim.

The fact that I picked up a copy that came with a second disc, offering a high-quality live recording, taken from a 1990 show in Utrecht that had been broadcast on a radio station in the Netherlands, only adds to my love for Death To The Pixies.

It would have been very easy for 4AD records to fill the entire disc with music, but there was very much an element of quality control.  Seventeen songs all told, three of which were lifted from Come On Pilgrim, three from Surfer Rosa, six from Doolittle, two from Bossanova, and two from Trompe Le Monde, with a combined running time of under 48 minutes.   It really is the perfect introduction to the band and, should you ever be given the unlikely dilemma of being sent somewhere, say a desert island, where you can only have one Pixies artefact to your name, then this collection really is what you should take.

mp3: Pixies – Monkey Gone To Heaven

This was #16 in the 45 45s @ 45 rundown back in 2008.  It’s featured on the blog on quite a few occasions in the past.

It’s a new wave epic, groundbreaking in the way that the harsh, near industrial sounds of the traditional instruments deployed by this particular four-piece combo are enhanced in unimaginable ways by two cellos and two violins. It remains one of the few songs that have ever stopped me dead in my tracks on my first listen while I’ve been browsing in a record store.


6 thoughts on “60 ALBUMS @ 60 : #22

  1. Come on Pilgrim was the perfect introduction – Levitate Me remains a firm favourite. Surfer Rosa is a stunning LP – when I’m reminded of Gigantic all I can instantly smell is dry ice – like right now – from nostalgic club nights. It opened the door for the Pixies only for Doolittle to come along a blow the door right off it’s hinges. I fell away from the band at the release of Trompe le Monde – for no reason I can think of. A friend very recently informed me that The Jesus and Mary Chain noted that Pixies version of Head On is THE version of Head On, as it cut its path through Kelvingrove Park.

    If we take the music away from this compilation – just for a second – the title just demands attention. As compilations go this sounds as though it’s up there with the best of them.

  2. Surprising choice. Nothing was happening with the Pixies in 1997. And nothing they did after the break up had an impact nearly as powerful as Doolittle 8 years earlier.

  3. The tail off at Bossanova is a strange one, they just suddenly weren’t as good. At the time I thought it was me and my taste shifting but there’s no doubt that the first 3 releases are among the best guitar music of the decade by anyone and after those they’re much more ordinary.

  4. @Adam – have to disagree. I find I listen to the last two albums more than Pilgrim and Surfer Rosa these days. I think it has to do with how great a singer Black Francis became. He gets a lot of props for his songs (justifiably) but is never recognized for his vocals. For me the Pixies just got better and better. Unfortunately they were a crap live band, both times I saw them.

  5. Interesting choice! I bought the double pack as well, but have barely listened to it, preferring the original albums. It is a great selection though.

  6. @JTFL Maybe it was me then! I should revisit those 2 albums, but at the time it seemed like a big tailing off. I saw them live in 1991 at GMex, they were good (in what was a cavernous venue) and the crowd were pretty amped up for it but I don’t recall it being that good.

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