“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.

“Palace of the Brine” – The Pixies


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


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.