Friday, August 5, 2011

Pixies. The 20 Best Songs

A few weeks ago, I received a cool new book about the band Pixies. Fool The World: The Oral History Of A Band Called Pixies traces their entire career, album by album, all the way through their 2004 reunion. While reading, I listened along to the entire Pixies' catalog, assembling their 20 Best Songs. This was tough to rank - so many good songs had to be eliminated to make room for my 20 favorites. I'm curious to see which ones you thought should've made the cut, so please leave your comments below. If you'd like to listen to this list, scroll to the bottom for a Spotify playlist.

20.  Caribou
From the EP Come On Pilgrim (1987)
The song that introduced the Pixies to the world.

19.  In Heaven (Lady in the Radiator Song)
Released a b-side to Gigantic single (1988)
Usually I don't put a cover song on a band's best of list, but this will be an exception. 'In Heaven' was written by David Lynch, originally appearing in the 1977 film Eraserhead. The initial Pixies version was on the band's demo known as The Purple Tape - though I am partial to the live take that was released as one of the b-sides to the Gigantic single. By the way, have you heard the Bauhaus version?

18.  Letter to Memphis
Released as single; appeared on the album Trompe le Monde (1991)
The first single from the band's last album (at the time of this post).

17.  All Over the World
From the album Bossanova (1990)

16.  Gouge Away
From the album Doolittle (1989)
How great is Doolittle from beginning to end? 'Gouge Away' is the closing track.

15.  Velouria
Released as single; appeared on the album Bossanova (1990)
The video featured the band running down some rocks in slow-motion. LOL.

14.  Tame
From the album Doolittle (1989)
Check out that screaming!

13.  Bone Machine
From the album Surfer Rosa (1988)
Side one / song one from their debut.

12.  Break My Body
From the album Surfer Rosa (1988)

11.  Dig for Fire
Released as single; appeared on the album Bossanova (1990)

10.  Alec Eiffel
Released as single; appeared on the album Trompe le Monde (1991)
The keyboards toward the end of this little gem are just brilliant.

09.  Hey
From the album Doolittle (1989)
I remember listening to this one with my brother when Doolittle came out, laughing out how Black Francis would go from gentle singing to insane screaming.

08.  Gigantic
Released as single; appeared on the album Surfer Rosa (1988)
The very first Pixies single.

07.  Planet of Sound
Released as single; appeared on the album Trompe le Monde (1991)
A great song to listen to while you're driving.

06.  Where is My Mind?
From the album Surfer Rosa (1988)
Woooooooohhh ooooooohhhhh. Classic Pixies.

05.  Monkey Gone to Heaven
Released as single; appeared on the album Doolittle (1989)
And if the devil is six... then GOD IS SEVEN!!!! In a way, the entire Doolittle album should just be on this list! Amazing  :)

04.  Bird Dream of the Olympus Mons
From the album Trompe le Monde (1991)
My favorite track from Trompe le Monde.

03.  Debaser
Released as single (1997); appeared on the album Doolittle (1989)
What a way to kick off an album. Insane. Bowie used to cover 'Debaser' in his band Tin Machine.

02.  Here Comes Your Man
Released as single; appeared on the album Doolittle (1989)
Such a great on. Be sure to check out the demo version on the reissue of the original Purple Tape.

01.  Wave of Mutilation
From the album Doolittle (1989)
There are two versions of 'Wave of Mutilation' - the Doolittle version and the 'UK Surf mix' that appeared in the movie Pump Up the Volume - both are great.

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  1. Wave of Mutilation it's actually my least favorite behind Silver and La la la Love you

  2. LOL. Wow, we have some extreme differences there. :) Thanks for stopping by. - Bret

  3. Wave is a great song no doubt, but I think the least interesting of doolittle. I would have to have some of these in my top 20: Boom Chicka Boom, Nimrod's Son, Vamos Live, I've Been Tired, Broken Face, I Bleed, Dead, The Sad Punk, Lovely Day, just to name a few- joe fitz of the portland band "molly BANG" - thanks

  4. This list is bad and you should feel bad. Nah just kidding.

  5. WHATTTT?????? No 'Into the White' in a Pixies top 20??? Shocking!!

  6. I really like the list but can't believe you didn't put The Happening. I just love it.

  7. A nearly impossible task you set yourself here, Bret. Motorway to Roswell, Havalina, All Over The World, River Euphrates- oh geez, I could list just about every song NOT on your list. My only real disagreement though, is that Caribou should be much higher on the list. I'll never forget the first time the needle hit that groove on my turntable. It was like the universe made some subtle shift I couldn't quite explain but sure did feel.

  8. Silver is awsome ! Come On, show some taste :P

  9. No Broken Face?! That song is genius... puts so many other pretenders to shame.

  10. Mr Grieves is an amazing song, should be in the countdown

  11. I'd be adding I've Been Tired, I Bleed and Levitate Me somewhere in my own list, but otherwise this is pretty good!

  12. Where's River Euphrates (my personal favorite), I'm Amazed, U-Mass, The Holiday Song, The Happening, Manta Ray, and last but not least Vamos

    and also, I love in heaven, but I like when Kim sings it more

  13. I miss i've been tired in this list.

  14. I agree it's really difficult to come up with a definitive top 20, but it would be difficult for me to exclude 'Brick Is Red' and 'Cactus'.

  15. Wave of Mutilation is for sure among my top ten..!
    But there are more and i cannot say which one in which order... I have many favorite Pixies-songs!

  16. Great list. But I think U-Mass is probably my favourite song. I love Dead and I've Been Tired as well

  17. Picking 20 Pixies songs is quite the task, and really you can't go wrong. I definitely would have included "Manta Ray" and "River Euphrates" though. Still, well done.

  18. Boom Chicka Boom... i never heard about this pixies-song, although i'm a big fan. I thought i knew every song from pixies... until now: boom chicka boom!
    I can find the lyrics, but that's all. Does someone know where i can find/download/listen this song?
    It should be on "Pixies 1/18/87 radio session
    Recorded at WERS Studios, Emerson College in Boston"

  19. All good songs, my top 5 would be:

    5. Motorway to Roswell
    4. Where is my mind?
    3. Alec Eiffel
    2. Gouge Away
    1. Velouria

  20. River Euphrates

  21. Tough call....def would say doolittle songs are my fav......I think debaser, hey, this monkeys gone to heaven, gouge away would have been at my top and how could you not have broken face?! Sooooooo good!

  22. jajajaja very good top man! and you include Bird Dream of the Olympus Mons!!! jajajajaja that's awesome! I thought I was the only one to thing it was so great!

    aam but I would put I Bleed, Is She Weird and if we talk about covers I prefer Head On over In Heaven but is still very good

    sorry if my grammar or spelling sucks but I speak originaly spanish and I do what I can to make my understand jaja

    Un saludo :)

  23. What about "into the white" ...?

  24. great list! a lot of my favorites, too. i'd make room for

    ed is dead
    the happening
    the sad punk
    blown away
    rock music

    i obviously champion Bossanova quite a bit.

  25. ok well thats a great list. but in my opinion youre forgetting one really awesome song that could delete gouge away. for the very reason that ive never heard a more creative and unique love song la la love you shouldve made this list. you gotta agree theres no love song as cool as la la love you

  26. what about this one????

    BEST EVER!!!!

  27. Well, I can make things easier, a Top 10... for each album, ha ha.

  28. They are all great songs. All deserve to be #1. Even Make Believe.

  29. Tony's Song and River Euphrates definitely. Where is my mind, and Something Against You.
    What about their cover of J&M Chain's Head On? I mean the Pixies blew that one away and showed them exactly how it should be played.
    Love their acoustic rendition of Here Comes Your Man.

  30. Hey everyone, apparently blogger doesn't allow me to reply to each comment, so I'll try to respond to as many in one....

    First off, this was super difficult, as you can imagine. I started with a really long list and had to gradually whittle it down so it wouldn't be the 50 Best - way too long! Many of the songs you guys mentioned above I had on my initial list... I Bleed and Cactus were on until the very very end, as well as U-Mass and Motorway To Roswell.

    The beauty of the doing these lists is that we can see how everyone has unique tastes. :)

    If you look over at the side menu, I've also done best of lists for The Smiths, Morrissey, Bowie, The Cure, The Church, Suede and several others, be sure to check those out. There's also a link above to follow my blog on Facebook.

    Thanks again everyone for your feedback!

  31. No. 13. Just like all the changes in it...great live,

  32. River Euphrates
    Broken Face
    Cecilia Ann
    All Over the World
    Dig For Fire
    Stormy Weather
    Wave of Mutilation
    Monkey Gone to Heaven
    Down to the Well
    Bird Dream of the Olympus Mons
    Brick is Red
    I Bleed
    Where is My Mind

  33. im not gonna sit here and name my 20 favorite pixies songs cause that would be too time consuming. yeah theres some i like better than others eventhough they are all good. wave of mutilation would deft be in my 3 LEAST favorites. everybody has there own opinion so its all good. long live the pixies!!!

  34. Top songs per album
    Come On Pilgrim:
    -Levitate Me
    -Ed Is Dead
    -The Holiday SOng

    Surfa Rosa:
    -Where is my mind
    -River Euphrates
    -Bone Machine
    -Broken Face
    -Break My Body
    -Something Againt You

    -Wave Of Mutilation
    -I Bleed
    -Here Comes Your Man
    -Monkey Gone To Heaven
    -La La Love You
    -Gouge Away

    -Dig For Fire
    -All Over The World
    -Rock Music
    -Down To The Well

    Trompe Le Monde:
    -Alec Eiffel
    -Trompe Le Monde
    -Planet Of Sound
    -Letter to Memphis
    -Bird Dream of the Olympus Mons
    -Motorway To Roswell
    -The Navajo Know

    -Manta Ray !!
    -Into The White
    -The Thing
    -I've Been Waiting For You

  35. I miss subbacultcha, remember that one? Also I've seen a great live version of Into the white. Where's my mind and Bone machine were the songs that made me a Pixie :-)

  36. ps. bret. my band has put our album on vinyl. since we are both pixies fans and vinyl collectors I was wondering if you could send me your address so that I could send you a copy. and then you could review it and tell everyone that is sucks. :)

  37. Hey Scott, my email address is listed in the About Me section on my blog. Please send me a message. Thanks. :)

  38. 1.- Anna
    2.- havalina,
    3.- monkey gone to heaven,
    4.- gouge away
    5.- is she weird
    6.- debaser
    7.- here comes your man
    8.- vamos
    9.- where is my mind
    10.- wave of mutilation
    11.- levitate me
    12.- Bird Dream of the Olympus Mons
    13.- Letter to Memphis
    14.- river auphrates
    15.- giantic
    16.- Velouria
    17.- head on (cover)
    18.- motorway to roswell
    19.- hang wire
    20.- no. 13 baby