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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Let’s Talk About How Good This Song Is, Okay?

posted by on November 7 at 14:51 PM

“Alec Eiffel” by the Pixes:

I’ll go first:

I feel like it’s an often overlooked Pixies song, and it really shouldn’t be.

I like singing along with the bouncing “little eiffel, little eiffel” that gets repeated in every verse. I like the re-occurring guitar solo (or is that more a glorified riff?) that first happens not even a minute into the song. I love the way Frank Black sings “Keeping low doesn’t make no…” and then screams “sense!”. But my favorite part in the whole song is the keyboard that sounds almost like a choir singing, and that melody that comes in just before Kim Deal starts softly singing “Oh Alexander, I see you beneath the archway of aerodynamics.” And the rush of distortion/feedback that ends the song… I like that too.

Now it’s your turn.

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this is the first pixies song i ever fell in love with.

working backwards from the breeders, i checked trompe le monde out from the columbia city library when i was, i think, a sophomore in high school. i was weirded out by the title track and 'planet of sound' was too fuckin loud to my virginal ears at the time...but that driving beat of 'Alec Eiffel' caught me first time through. i read the lyrics in the liners and was amazed at the titular subject being the inspiration for such a rockin' song. trompe le monde took me a few to get but eventually became my one of my most treasured tapes.

(i used to dub the library tapes and keep em but by then i'd instead dub the tape, open it up, and switch the tape reels so i'd have the better quality version. GANGSTA.)

since it was my first pixies album it's still my favorite, even though there's better ones.

Posted by lar | November 7, 2007 3:25 PM

oh and wasn't it dude from pere ubu playin the keyboard on this too?

Posted by lar | November 7, 2007 3:26 PM

I hated this song when it first came out. I was a hard core Debaser type of pixies guy and this song killed me.

KEYBOARDS?!!?!?! why not the theremin (Used so much on Bossanova)?

but it has aged really really well. Now it is perhaps my favorite Pixies song, and pretty much my favorite Frank Black song (well except for Overall its the keyboard melody that really sticks it for me. Once its in my head its there for weeks.

Posted by Matthew | November 7, 2007 3:56 PM

I totally dug this song back when it came out... I love the way it just STARTS! at full-speed, no mellow lead-in. The altered lyrics ("keepin' low don't make sense/ keepin' low don't make no sense/..." The circular keyboard melody. The screaming-passionate guitar at the end... god. I was laughed at by an entire bus of exchange students for rocking out to this with headphones. Worth every second of humiliation.

The only regret is that it's not long enough. Imagine a 10-minute jam of this song... Or at least 5.

Posted by treacle | November 7, 2007 3:56 PM

i never gave trompe le monde the attention it deserved. hearing this song definitely brings back that album though, which i also had on tape, but usually bypassed in favor of doolittle.

good ear, megan: its a really good song. what the hell kind of effect IS that on the guitar at the end?

Posted by jz | November 7, 2007 4:09 PM

for some reason, i always associate this song with alec empire of atari teenage riot and the amount of hate that i have for atr is unfairly placed on this song. too bad! 'lovely day' is the super jam.

Posted by cosby | November 7, 2007 4:15 PM

Trompe Le Monde was my first Pixies album, too. Then I worked backwards to Doolittle, Surfer Rosa, Come On Pilgrim, and then forward again to finally discover Bossa Nova.

The first time I can remember hearing "Bird Dreams of Olympus Mons" was in my girlfriend's dad's car, driving to her house in Newport Hills. I don't remember when I first heard "Alec Eiffel," but I do remember being completely floored by that outro, the weird time signature action between the drums, keys, and Kim's vocals. I'll also admit that for a time, I actually thought the Get Up Kids version was as good as the original. (covers face in anticipation of critical beatdown)

Posted by Eric Grandy | November 7, 2007 4:19 PM

the get up kids? like whoa.

Posted by cosby | November 7, 2007 4:24 PM

not an overlooked song. lots of peoples' favorite pixies song.

get up kids' version: not offensive.

Posted by ndrwmtsn | November 7, 2007 5:01 PM

You should talk to Grandy before you write these things. Easily the weakest album. Doolittle and Surfer Rosa are so much better, and if you'd seen them in concert that wouldn't need to be mentioned. Go and listen to Bone Machine. Tout suite.

Posted by left coast | November 7, 2007 5:07 PM

Whoops, over-estimated Grandy, but go borrow the other albums from him and rewrite this as 'Why Would Anyone Think They Could Remake a Pixies Song?". If this is your favorite Pixies song, then you don't really like the Pixies. It's like saying that your favorite Nirvana song is Heart Shaped Box. It's not, you just don't know it.

They don't play it live, and it's not on the double album compilation. U-Mass is on, and it's still amusing. Tame, Debaser and Velouria are on there twice for good reason.

Posted by left coast | November 7, 2007 5:45 PM

@11: It's not on Death to the Pixies, but it is on a later compilation, Wave of Mutilation. I agree with you that it's a mediocre song, though.

Posted by arjache | November 7, 2007 7:17 PM

fuckin' great song. whole trompe le monde is great.

Posted by josh | November 7, 2007 7:41 PM

Last Splash is a better Pixies album (save U-Mass).

Posted by left coast | November 8, 2007 9:16 AM

@14: that explains why there are 26 copies of 'last splash' at every used cd store.

Posted by cosby | November 8, 2007 11:02 AM

I used to play this song every time on my little college radio show. It wasn't the first Pixies song that turned me on to the band--that was probably Wave of Mutilation or Where Is My Mind--but I love the repeating overlapping vocal chorus at the end oh so so much. Perfectly constructed, and going on too long would ruin it. My one regret about their reunion tour is that I saw them twice and don't remember them playing this song.

It's more like Frank Black's first solo records--particularly Teenager of the Year, which easily stands up to anything the Pixies did. There. I've said it.

Posted by Mattydread | November 8, 2007 11:31 AM

P.S. Their cover of "Head On" from the same album is equally killer.

Posted by MattyDread | November 8, 2007 11:33 AM

This isn't the best Pixies song, but the Get Up Kids cover of it is by far the best cover of a Pixies song, in my opinion (at least, that I've heard).

Posted by Benji | November 8, 2007 1:05 PM

Head On is a cover of one of the worst Jesus and Mary Chain songs. I would agree about Trompe sounding like a FB solo album. He comes off a egomanical freak at the shows. Deal barely gets to do anything.

Posted by left coast | November 8, 2007 1:46 PM

#11: You are wrong. Personally, there's other stuff I like better, but Trompe le Monde is pretty underrated.

Also, when this record came out was working my first newspaper job at the UW Daily. I was on the phone repeatedly trying to set up an interview with the Pixies prior to their Seattle show, seemingly to no avail. Then one day I arrive home (I was living in a 9-bedroom house with bandmates, other Daily-ites, and various freeloaders) to find this message on the dry-erase board: "Aaron- Black Francis called." Sadly, I never reached him. But I did leave that message on the board for as long as I possibly could.

Posted by Aaron Huffman | November 8, 2007 5:07 PM

It's all about Santiago.

Posted by Paulus | November 8, 2007 5:45 PM

@20, I'm not. Whoever picked songs for the two disc compilation dedicated 2 songs to Trompe. I think they might have played one at the Hammerstein show that I saw Dec. '04. Great show, loud as hell but clear as a bell.

Hat tip to whoever @ Lineout needed the whambulance after emoting about bands they'd never made time for. Big Star are pretty sweet. I plan to lie and say that I've loved Get What You Deserve since high school.

Posted by left coast | November 8, 2007 6:04 PM

Alec Eiffel is pretty good. How many songs can you actually learn something interesting from? But there are several songs from Trompe le Monde that I prefer, such as Head On, U Mass, Subbacultcha, and Motorway to Roswell. And Doolittle, Surfer Rosa and even Come On Pilgrim in turn are better overall than Trompe le Monde. For me, Bossanova is easily the weakest link in the chain, not Trompe le Monde. The only song I really love off of Bossanova is Allison, and it's all of 1:17.

ymmv, of course.

Posted by rkpetersen | November 8, 2007 7:46 PM

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