My first encounter with Pixies was perhaps their least artistic “Trompe le Monde.” It wasn’t as cohesive as their previous releases, but it fit in well for a high school senior who only purchased the album as a way to get close to a girl. I didn’t get the girl, but I did fall in love with the band – screaming along to “Planet of Sound” in my banana yellow Ford Ranger, and frightening my role-play group with their bizarre sounds.
“Hey” and “Debaser” are definitely two of my favorite of their songs from one of their best albums, “Doolittle.” I easily slip into singing along if I’m alone, and both easily get lodged in my head to repeat over-and-over but without the sickening side effects of most ear bugs.
These acapella – or more rightly called vocal-only – tracks are the isolated vocals of Black Francis, the iconic voice of Pixies, and they are equally disturbing, ethereal, and fun.
“Debaser” is perhaps the more fun of the two, especially when it gets to the section with him repeating the word at high volume in his cracking voice. Without the music and backing vocals of Kim Deal, Black becomes the lunatic homeless man yelling at business people as they travel to work. You know, the guy who thinks yelling insults, profanity, and randomness at the world will get him spare change or a cigarette.
But then comes “Hey” and the world inverts and Black becomes an awkward teen suitor who doesn’t understand either love or sex, thinking them interchangeable. This is my favorite of the two vocal-only versions because of the image I picture in my head of a college freshman standing on a dirty stage in the spotlight at a smoke-hazed coffee house. His eyes are closed as he recites his masterpiece, which he really considers a love letter to the girl he thinks hasn’t noticed him. But the audience knows.
Have fun with these ludicrous vocal-only versions and check out their new (yes new) track, BAGBOY. Kim Deal is no longer a member of the band, but lovely Kim Shattuck has stepped in for bass and vocals (I’m sorry, but I refuse to believe Wikipedia’s info that she is 50 years old). She has big shoes to fill, but maybe some new blood will bring some more releases. I look forward to hearing more.
Thanks to Isolated Vocals on SoundCloud for these great tracks and many more.
BAGBOY – the creepy video
BAGBOY – the better video
And for another great video, even if unrelated and quite a clash to Pixies, have you seen Tricky’s new “Hey Love”?