“Undone – The Sweater Song” – Weezer

There are many interpretations of what the lyrics of this song mean … some of them thoughtful, others not so much.  I’m not sure what’s going on in this song, from the barely heard Robert Altman-esque dialogue in the background, to the lyrics which sound like someone having a mental breakdown, but I’m mainly focusing on the wall of noise that surges louder and louder as the song progresses to have the entire thing crash down into a million pieces at the end.  This was the first Weezer song I remember hearing and when I found out Ric Ocasek from the Cars produced this, I thought “Of course.”   Mainly because I thought Weezer (circa 1994) sounded like a more radio-friendly version of the Pixies in much the same way the Cars were a more radio-friendly (at least in America) version of Roxy Music. This is not meant a slam to either Weezer or the Pixies (or the Cars or Roxy Music), because that first Weezer album (the self-title “blue” album) takes everything that’s great about the Pixies and adds more hooks. It’s a classic pop album and it’s the one I most frequently return to, even though I love a lot of Weezer’s later albums. “Undone” is my favorite song off the “blue” album.

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The ending of “Fight Club” (1999) dir. David Fincher

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This has to be the strangest “happy” ending in film history … a declaration of mature love amidst massive destruction and mayhem … while the Pixies’ legendary “Where Is My Mind?” plays in the background. I realize this is a perverse selection here given my last entry about “United 93,” but to be fair, “Fight Club” was written / filmed pre-9/11. And just because some of the angst of “Fight Club” was rendered obsolete by the subsequent “war on terror”  doesn’t mean that “Fight Club” still doesn’t raise several excellent issues about our culture. If there’s a film that summarized my mental state in my early 20s, this is it. Fortunately, I saw this in my late 20s after I was married and settled down … so the film left me with the weirdest, most perverse grin on my face I’ve ever had watching a film. Especially during the “Sixth Sense” – level plot twist that occurs 3/4 of the way through.  Between this and David Cronenberg’s “Videodrome,” my all-time favorite film.

Sorry ladies … and maybe some gents … the infamous subliminal “pickle” shot has been edited out.

“Los Angeles” – Frank Black

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The lead-off track from the Pixies’ Black Francis’s solo debut from 1993 (who had subsequently changed his professional name to Frank Black). I remember hearing this for the first time in May of 1993, having a beer or three with a good friend after an unsuccessful date.  I remember this slammin’ song cheering me up immensely.

“Palace of the Brine” – The Pixies

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From the Pixies’ underrated 1991 swan song “Trompe Le Monde,” comes this nearly unheralded gem that epitomizes what makes the Pixies so great: layers of distorted loud guitars on top of pop melodies and intense shouted vocals.  And all in 1 minute 35 seconds. In the year of Nirvana’s “Nevermind” and Guns n’ Roses’ “Use Your Illusion I and II,” “Trompe le Monde” was my favorite album from that year … and still is.

“Debaser” – The Pixies

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I remember hearing this late one night in a friend’s car back in 1989 and immediately bought the “Doolittle” CD when the record store opened the next day. While many quibble about what the best Pixies album is, I’ve never heard a negative thing said about “Doolittle.” And thanks to my undergraduate film class I was able to catch the Luis Bunuel reference in the lyrics and for five minutes, I felt smart and cool.