The Pixies – Bossanova

The used record bins normally have absolute crap or classic albums that are over priced. The reason I say over priced is entirely due to my genuine belief that it is not necessary to have a pressing of a record that has a specific colour or designed label, or some other curiosity as, 99 times out of 100, the actual music on the record is exactly the same as a much cheaper, more common version. When you drop the needle all that superfluous stuff that makes a record more valuable is irrelevant.

I have, for example, a perfectly good pressing of Led Zeppelin III complete with the skinny wheel thing, it cost me about £20. In the used bin there was one in OK condition, first press, £50. My copy is mint. It makes no sense to me. Anyway, last week I was having a little look and I found three albums in there that were of interest, one of which was a really nice copy of Bossanova by the Pixies, it’s a 1990 pressing, the year it was released, but I would have been just as happy to have a re-press, honestly, I would.


According to Rolling Stone magazine this album was 91st in their 100 albums of the 90’s, a list which contained a lot of good albums, although to give some frame of reference, Alanis Morrisette was at 45 with ‘Jagged Little Pill’, I know which I prefer but that’s just me, although I suspect not.

It seems ridiculous to me that this album is 27 years old! Imagine it, in 1994 Sgt Peppers was 27 years old and I looked back on that album and considered it to be from another time entirely, 1967, released the month before I was born. It was of its time. This album isn’t, listening to it again now I do believe if it was released for the first time today it would probably do better than it did originally, placing low in the US charts at 70, faring better in the UK at 5, or 3, depending on where you look.

It is considered to be a bit of a straight ahead rock album, but that isn’t entirely true, even with this album the Pixies were forging their own particular path that borrowed elements from elsewhere but was still undeniably their own sound. I was convinced that the track ‘Allison’ was released as a single, which would have been pretty bloody short as it runs at only just over a minute, a brilliant minute, but it wasn’t a single, the two singles were ‘Dig For Fire’ and ‘Velouria’.

It was then that I found the official video for ‘Dig for Fire’ on the 4AD youtube Channel, which has ‘Allison’ tagged on to the end, so, well, I guess it was a double A side or something, I’ve no idea to be honest but it does explain why I thought it had been a single.

I remember seeing the video for ‘Velouria’ on TV when it was released and I sat there for nearly 4 minutes expecting something to happen, I’ll say no more than that, watch it for yourself and enjoy what is a magnificent song.


A1 Cecilia Ann – Written-By – The Surftones – 2:06
A2 Rock Music – 1:52
A3 Velouria – Theremin – Robert F. Brunner – 3:40
A4 Allison – 1:17
A5 Is She Weird – Theremin – Robert F. Brunner- 3:01
A6 Ana – 2:09
A7 All Over The World – 5:26
B8 Dig For Fire – 3:02
B9 – Down To The Well – 2:29
B10 The Happening – 4:19
B11 Blown Away – 2:20
B12 Hang Wire 2:01
B13 Stormy Weather – 3:26
B14 Havalina – 2:33

I remember going into the now long defunct Soundhouse record store in Gloucester Street, Leamington Spa and seeing a copy of the first Pixies album, ‘Surfa Rosa’ and  buying it for two reasons, the first was that the cover had tits on it and the second was that it was on 4AD, the same label as the Cocteau twins, so that was recommendation enough. It was completely different to what I was expecting but I loved it.

‘Bossanova’ is very a very different album, and only a couple on from the debut, but sonically it is fantastic. Not quite reaching 40 minutes long, but songs don’t have to be long to be good, neither does an album. Nowadays, since the advent of CD’s, there does seem to be a desire to fill at least 74 minutes and that often, but not always, results in inferior tracks, but The Pixies didn’t do that, they just wrote perfectly formed tracks and didn’t fill up the dead space with throw away songs for the sake of it. I like that about them.

Bonus! Bonus! Bonus!

The Happening, not an official video, at least I don’t think so, but a great track, about Area 51, has to be

Double Bonus!

Full concert from 1991, which was probably promoting Bossanova.


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