Sunday, June 30, 2019

Certain Songs #1573: Pixies – “Wave of Mutilation” | Medialoper

Album: Doolittle
Year: 1989

. . .

Had the Pixies decided to title their second album More Songs About Water and Death, I’m guessing that nobody would have even batted an eye, as many of their songs are about one or the other, and quite usually both. Or at least many of their songs that I truly loved, like “Wave of Mutilation,” a song so key to the Pixies legend that they recorded two versions of it.

One of the versions was slow and dreamy and they called it the “U.K. Surf” version, and while it was relegated to a b-side, they often pulled it out for concerts. But of course, I preferred the version that ended up on More Songs About Water and Death, because it was faster and noisier while still retaining both its essential prettiness and essential weirdness.

Cease to resist, giving my goodbye
Drive my car into the ocean
You think I’m dead, but I sail away

On a wave of mutilation
Wave of mutilation
Wave of mutilation

Frank Black said that it was about Japanese businessmen who drove their whole families off of docks into the ocean, a thing which maybe he made up, but in any case, if so, it was about a guy who tried suicided and failed, and indeed had many great adventures in the ocean instead of dying.

I’ve kissed mermaids, rode the El Niño
Walked the sand with the crustaceans
Could find my way to Mariana

With Francis keeping away from his psychotic voice, and producer Gil Norton piling on and off Joey Santiagos guitars as David Lovering and Kim Deal riding up and down the waves, “Wave of Mutilation” just sounds fucking amazing, easily the most fun song ever recorded that had “mutilation” in the title. And while it wasn’t ever a single or anything, “Wave of Mutilation” is one of their most beloved tunes, always showing up in “Top 10 Pixies Songs” lists, and just generally being a fan favorite.

“Wave of Mutilation”

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