Sunday, June 01, 2014

Writing Music: Surfer Rosa by The Pixies

Los Angeles, CA

Been on a late 80s post-punk binge (although critics would consider this early "grunge"). Took a walk down memory lane with Surfer Rosa by The Pixies, which was released in 1988, a year before Doolittle, which I had listened to nonstop during the Summer of 89 (along with Dirty Blvd. and Ful Moon Fever).

During the summer before my last year of high school, I enjoyed Doolittle so much that I wanted to hear more from the Pixies, so I went backwards... to their previous album... Surfer Rosa. I was slightly bummed out. Surfer Rosa didn't move me or floor me or impact me quite like the exhilarating Doolittle effect. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that a specific girl had gone out of her way to give me a cassette copy of Doolittle, which was a pretty silly and superficial reason to prefer one album over another. But I liked her so much that I wanted to like the things she thought that I would like... or maybe it's because I liked it because she wanted me to like it. Hard to tell with my sexually frustrated 16 year old self.

Anyway, on a sonic level, Surfer Rosa had an edgier and swampier sound than Doolittle. I rarely listened to it aside from a song or two (like Bone Machine). Now it's 25 summers later and I find Doolittle a little "soft" and dripping in too much commercial pop for my tastes. Funny how music constantly evolves inside your brain, yet the songs remain the same.

In 2014 as a 40-something I can finally appreciate Surfer Rosa. Many songs off of Doolittle conjure up the past... blizzard of halcyon memories of that special summer of 89 (you never, ever forget the music you listened to religiously when you were 16 years-old). Yet, in these weird times, I rarely listen to Doolittle, rather it's Surfer Rosa that has been on heavy rotation the last week or so.

Here's a playlist with most of the songs from Surfer Rosa...

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