Courtesy of Discogs

The Pixies, an American alt-rock band founded in Boston in 1986, released their second studio album “Doolittle” on April 17, 1989. In honor of the album’s 34th birthday, I thought what better way to celebrate all of its success than to write a record recap! This album, among many others, proved itself as a major contender in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s rock scene. The Pixies’ first studio album, “Surfer Rosa,” received critical acclaim, featuring the iconic track “Where Is My Mind?” featured in the 1999 cult classic film “Fight Club.” The band’s second studio album, “Doolittle,” did not fail to deliver that same loaded and hefty noise the band made itself known for.  

The album’s opener, “Debaser,” fully embodies the quintessential Pixies sound; the instrumentation’s buildup coupled with the harsh vocals from lead singer Black Francis create a perfect track to open up this classic late ‘80s rock album. Francis is known for his “screaming” vocals, and they come out perfectly in the following track “Tame.” The ending of this track features “Doolittle”’s most aggressive sampling of shrieking from Francis, one that surprises fans every time they listen. The album continues with tracks such as “Wave of Mutilation” and “I Bleed,” both featuring edgy and dark lyrics. Francis and co-vocalist/bassist Kim Deal, who later formed the rock band The Breeders, sing on “I Bleed,” “Prithee, my dear, why are we here? / Nobody knows, we go to sleep / As breathing flows, my mind secedes.” The fifth track off the album, “Here Comes Your Man,” holds a very special place in many peoples’ hearts, as it’s a song featured in the beloved movie “(500) Days Of Summer.”

“It’s like a dark David Lynch movie. I guess I get a lot of satisfaction when people are pumping their fists in the air and singing like it’s some sort of simple love song—which would be fine, because there’s nothing wrong with simple love songs—but this is not that,” Francis reflected in an interview with Esquire magazine

The next two tracks “Dead” and “Monkey Gone to Heaven” are the most post-apocalyptic tracks on “Doolittle,” featuring lyrics such as, “Now there’s a hole in the sky / And the ground’s not cold / And if the ground’s not cold, everything is gonna burn / We’ll all take turns, I’ll get mine too.” The eighth track on the album, “Mr. Grieves,” features incredible guitar riffs and sinister vocals from Francis. The beginning guitar instrumentation and subsequent buildup to the chorus in “Mr. Grieves” is one of the best moments off the entire album. The following four tracks, “Crackity Jones,” “La La Love You,” “No 13 Baby” and “There Goes My Gun,” present themselves as sort of juvenile, yet emotionally-packed tracks with obscure lyrics and heavy beats. 

In the same Esquire magazine interview, Francis explained that “La La Love You,” “…[is a] fuck song done in this kind of sing-songy, oobie-doobie, groovy language. It’s not serious or anything. Just a little comedic break from whatever the hell else was going on.”

The album’s thirteenth track “Hey,” my personal favorite off “Doolittle,” is easily one of the band’s most influential tracks for succeeding rock and alternative artists such as The Smashing Pumpkins, PJ Harvey and Nirvana. The track features lyrics such as, “Hey / Been trying to meet you / Hey, must be a devil between us / Or whores in my head / Whores at the door, whore in my bed / But hey / Where have you / Been? / If you go, I will surely die.” The last two tracks off of “Doolittle,” “Silver” and “Gouge Away,” perfectly close the album with a mysterious tone, one that the listener is forced to grapple with after finishing the album. “Gouge Away” features lyrics such as, “Sleeping on your belly / You break my arms / You spoon my eyes / Been rubbing a bad charm with holy fingers”  and “Gouge away (La la) / You can gouge away / Stay all day / If you want to.” 

“Doolittle” begins and ends with greatness, and it rightfully deserves its famous spot in the early alt-rock world. The influence the Pixies had on rock bands that came later is astounding, and even today rock artists such as the Arctic Monkeys and Modest Mouse have derived much inspiration from the Pixies, and it is very evident in their style.