* Caribou appears only on European versions
10 out of 10
The Pixies' finest album is also one of the finest rock albums ever recorded. Challenging, but catchy; baffling, but fulfilling; It is an uncompromsingly raw, driving masterpiece of dissonant but tuneful pop, like nothing you've heard before. Recorded by legend Steve Albini (Big Black, Breeders, PJ Harvey, Nirvana) in the spring of 1988, Surfer Rosa is still fresh over a decade later. The thudding drum intro of "Bone Machine" gives way to the stunning chorus of "Break My Body", which keeps up the bone theme along with "Broken Face." The best song of the album is "Gigantic" written by both Kim Deal and Black Francis and sung by Kim. Opening with a simple bass line, with lyrics about two lovers, it is an unbelievably catchy song. This song should have been a huge, huge hit; that it wasn't is an indictment of the music industry of 1988.
Side two of the record opens with acoustic guitar on "Where Is My Mind?" Black Francis' quirky lyrics are at the forefront. "With your feet on the air and your head on the ground. Where is my mind?" The next track, "Cactus" tells the tale of a prisoner writing to his wife, "I miss your soup/And I miss your bread/And a letter in your writin' doesn't mean your not dead. Bloody your hands on a cactus tree/Wipe it on your dress and send it to me." "Tony's Theme" is about "a superhero named Tony." Francis' penchant for writing in Spanish appears on the next two tracks, "Oh My Golly!" and "Vamos", a different version of a Come On Pilgrim track. The US version of Surfer Rosa ends with "Brick is Red", a song which ends the album, leaving you begging for more. At 33 minutes, Surfer Rosa needs no filler, and there is none. Great song follows great song, making this album the Pixies' greatest and most influential.