Chained to the pillars.
A three day party.
I break the walls,
And kill us all
With holy fingers…
“A memorable cut from 1989ʼs Doolittle LP is grungy Gouge Away. Its persistent beat digs gradually deeper as electric guitars drone in the distance, occasionally shrieking with dissident outbursts. A clear point of reference for Nirvana’s Nevermind, the moments of sparseness in the song are driven by guitar and bass, doused in slap-back delay and gated reverb. Combined with Francis’ unpredictable vocal style, which steadily builds in intensity, this arrangement draws the listener in with its intimate and somewhat claustrophobic sound…”
I am finally seeing the Pixies sans Kim Deal perform at The Bowery Ballroom this Wednesday. I am beyond excited since they have been a longtime favorite band of mine, and I have never seen them live. I figured it would only be appropriate that I featured them for this week’s Music Monday post.
The song I chose, Gouge Away is a personal favorite. The closing track to their 1989 album Doolittle, the song recounts the book of Judges story of Samson & Delilah as a modern analogy for the complexity of relationships, temptation, betrayal, and forgiveness.
In an album largely overwrought with vignettes of violence, surrealist imagery, and Biblical tales of torture and punishment–Gouge Away’s taunting request, “Gouge away, you can gouge away” is a means to an end. Equal parts provocation and narrative, the lyrics are reminiscent of Tiresian prophecy. Although aware of the divine retribution that awaits, the speaker’s challenge aims to not only expedite the arrival his own demise, but also that of those involved. The song’s metaphoric destruction makes it a perfect end to an album largely concerned with obscuring the boundaries between the surreal and physical–ending with the tearing down of the allegorical walls of structure and consequence.