Posted by: markfender | January 15, 2013

Headphone Diaries – August 13, 1990

And now to talk about the most influential band of the 1990s.

Pixies-BossanovaThe Pixies
Bossanova

The third Pixies album came out. Sadly, I don’t think this is their best album (nor is next year’s Trompe le Monde) but it is a good album. It continues their trend of weird nonsense lyrics and loud-quiet-loud that defined music throughout the ’90s.

I say that the Pixies are the most influential band because of that particular loud-quiet-loud thing that they did so well. Low dynamic, often sweet, verses transposed with a loud screaming chorus. It pretty much defined the grunge sound. Kurt Cobain has said that he was deliberately aping the Pixies sound when he wrote “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Bono has claimed that they’re one of America’s greatest bands. I tend to agree. Despite the fact that their two best albums came in the late 80s, the influence they had on ’90s music is unmistakable. You can definitely hear it in something like “Hang Wire” from Bossanova.

I picked up the Pixies after they had already broken up. By that point, grunge was upon us and the sound wasn’t necessarily new. Hell, I had heard the Breeders before I’d actually heard the Pixies. But that doesn’t change the fact that they quickly became one of my favorites from the ’90s. I saw them live back in their second “Oh My God We Made So Much Money” reunion tour (not it’s official name) at Red Rocks. It was pretty much the best concert I’ve ever attended. The Violent Femmes opened for them. Both bands have a very singalong quality to their songs, which made for a cool concert experience. When an audience of 1,000 people is singing along to the “oooh” part of “Where Is My Mind,” you’ve got some transcendent musical moments. My only regret is that I did not buy a tour shirt.

Did it age well? It aged better than the musical style it spawned.

Should this go on your iPod? You need all four of their albums on your iPod RIGHT NOW or we have nothing else to say to each other.

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