It’s taken a couple of days to write this because I wanted to listen to Doolittle a few more times and organize my thoughts about this CD (that’s why we’re a little out of order), but since I haven’t stumbled upon the key to this album, I’m going to take a shot with what I’ve got instead of procrastinating further.
The Pixies fall into a strange category of bands, namely groups that I don’t really like that are almost universally liked by friends whose taste in music I respect. (Steely Dan, here’s looking at you).
I understand, logically, why the Pixies are important – their harsh, unyielding sound informs Nirvana and their poppier pieces run through Weezer, but in this case I’d much rather listen to the students than to the masters.
Part of my problem is just the volume. While I have nothing against noisy music (Nirvana again comes to mind), Doolittle is hard for me to listen to in one sitting. In the car, it’s overwhelming. On headphones, it hurts. When my four year old son asked to listen to what I was playing, I let him put one of my earbuds in. He made it through four songs and, if he is to be believed, he liked three of them, but Dead finished him off. That’s about my limit, too. Years ago I saw the Pixies play at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell and it remains the single loudest non-club show I’ve ever attended. But I made it through the show and I’ve made it through Doolittle.
What I’ve learned after repeated attempts to deal with Doolittle is that not all music needs to be consumed as an album (iTunes has made a fortune off of this) and this is one of those CDs that rewards picking and choosing. For everyone who likes Monkey Gone to Heaven there’s another person who gravitates more towards Debaser. Here, as you might have guessed, I prefer the “softer” material with a side order of noise. You don’t need to hear every song on this album every time you listen to it, but because the band chose to go in 15 different directions, you can always find a place that fits your mood. But be careful – if you’re not quick, the next song could blow your speakers.