Surfer Rosa

Surfer Rosa

4.6 8
by Pixies
     
 

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On little more than Black Francis' yowl, Kim Deal's remedial bass-playing, and Joey Santiago's wall-of-noise guitar, the Pixies became the most popular alternative rock group of the '80s and a harbinger of the revolution to come. Need proof? When Nirvana were but grunge pups theySee more details below

Overview

On little more than Black Francis' yowl, Kim Deal's remedial bass-playing, and Joey Santiago's wall-of-noise guitar, the Pixies became the most popular alternative rock group of the '80s and a harbinger of the revolution to come. Need proof? When Nirvana were but grunge pups they actually considered canning their massive single "Smells Like Teen Spirit" because it sounded like a Pixies rip-off. Maybe they felt they were cribbing the rumbling drive of "Bone Machine" or the mountainous noise of "Gigantic," both from the Pixies 1988 full-length debut, Surfer Rosa. If so, they wouldn't be alone. Surfer Rosa's beguiling mix of swelling guitar, cleverly twisted lyrical imagery, and self-consciously cute, even cuddly, melodies influenced a generation. The album really takes off with Kim Deal's utterly poppy "Gigantic," the heat-blast "Tony's Theme," and Francis' levitating "Where Is My Mind." Today, Surfer Rosa stands with Nevermind and My Bloody Valentine's Loveless as an alt-rock classic.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
One of the most compulsively listenable college rock albums of the '80s, the Pixies' 1988 full-length debut Surfer Rosa fulfilled the promise of Come on Pilgrim and, thanks to Steve Albini's production, added a muscular edge that made their harshest moments seem even more menacing and perverse. On songs like "Something Against You," Black Francis' cryptic shrieks and non sequiturs are backed by David Lovering and Kim Deal's punchy rhythms, which are so visceral that they'd overwhelm any guitarist except Joey Santiago, who takes the spotlight on the epic "Vamos." Albini's high-contrast dynamics suit Surfer Rosa well, especially on the explosive opener "Bone Machine" and the kinky, T. Rex-inspired "Cactus." But, like the black-and-white photo of a flamenco dancer on its cover, Surfer Rosa is the Pixies' most polarized work. For each blazing piece of punk, there are softer, poppier moments such as "Where Is My Mind?," Francis' strangely poignant song inspired by scuba diving in the Caribbean, and the Kim Deal-penned "Gigantic," which almost outshines the rest of the album. But even Surfer Rosa's less iconic songs reflect how important the album was in the group's development. The "song about a superhero named Tony" ("Tony's Theme") was the most lighthearted song the Pixies had recorded, pointing the way to their more overtly playful, whimsical work on Doolittle. Francis' warped sense of humor is evident in lyrics like "Bone Machine"'s "He bought me a soda and tried to molest me in the parking lot/Yep yep yep!" In a year that included landmark albums from contemporaries like Throwing Muses, Sonic Youth, and My Bloody Valentine, the Pixies managed to turn in one of 1988's most striking, distinctive records. Surfer Rosa may not be the group's most accessible work, but it is one of their most compelling.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/20/2003
Label:
4ad / Ada
UPC:
0652637803020
catalogNumber:
78030
Rank:
5577

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