In the last post in this series, I described how I discovered a ton of music while video taping videos off MuchMusic’s “City Limits”. Pixies’ “Alec Eiffel” is another such song, though it had help. My friend Tim told me about the band as well, which is why when I heard the video was coming up, I was able to beat Elliott to the VCR to plug in my tape and press the Record button. I loved the video and how the band playing in a wind tunnel added to the rage of the song. I didn’t know this then, but them simply opening their mouths and letting the wind do the work was part of their refusal to bow down to MTV and lip sync during the filming of their videos.
Yes, I came to the Pixies late, almost too late. This track was the third single off “Trompe Le Monde”, the Boston-based quartet’s final record before dissolving in 1993. My friend Tim would later include the song a mixed tape for me and later, made me a copy of their now classic album “Doolittle”. My love for them grew, the more material by them that I heard. Meanwhile, lead vocalist Frank Black started off a mildly successful solo career, bassist Kim Deal focused on her side project, The Breeders, lead guitarist Joey Santiago did some film and television score work, and drummer Dave Lovering became a magician. The band would later reform in 2004 with the whole lineup and I finally got to see them perform live a couple of times. They’re still a going concern today but Kim Deal has since left the band again to focus on the reunion of The Breeders.
“Alec Eiffel”, of course, refers to the French engineer who designed the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. Brief, like much of the Pixies’ work, the song is a mere two and a half minutes but it packs a wallop. Fierce right from the start with a burst of guitars and Lovering so frantic on drums. There’s a hint of the surf rock left over from “Bossanova” but only just a hint, and the synths almost give the normal Pixies clatter a bit of structure.
Really, “Alex Eiffel” is a straight ahead pop song. Well, as pop as Frank Black can write anyway.
For the rest of the Best tunes of 1991 list, click here.