65. debaser

Debaser was the first Pixies track to properly grab me, give me a proper smacking around, as all world class, eschaton immanetizing rock must do. The eyeball slicing helps, of course. A Salvador Dali reference. Actually, it came from Luis Bunuel’s dream, but Dali liked the sound of it and the rest is history. Surrealism with a capital S. Debaser, that is. Which makes it as much about Paris 1929 as the Americas of 1989, or Zurich 1916, for that matter. Meaning being entirely beside the point. Because seriously: what did happen in the Cabaret Voltaire? What strange and vital energies were released from its bowels even as all of Europe was tearing itself to pieces in the so-called Great War? What conjured them? What nurtured them? And how did they somehow inspire and ignite a sort of surf punk outfit operating out of Boston, Massachusetts seventy plus years later? I’m clear on one thing. Meaning had nothing to do with it, or a dog, Andalusian or otherwise. And I’m pretty sure Marie Osmond would back me up.” (Philip Random)

176. Christianity is Stupid

“Speaking of Jesus and surrealism and full-on agit-prop satire, Christianity Is Stupid has to rate as one of Negativland‘s high water marks. I remember it being particularly useful roundabout Christmastime, 1987, peak of the so-called Winter of Hate observances. Which, I suppose, are best understood as the mirror opposite of 1967’s Summer of Love  observances, neither being exactly what they were advertising. In other words, there was more than little fear and loathing caught up in all that overhyped San Francisco hippie shit (even if some of it was no doubt wonderful); likewise, there were traces of peace and love to be found in the massively under-hyped Winter of Hate (even if much of was deliberately abysmal). And whatever was going down (or perhaps up), Christianity is Stupid has to stand as one of its key anthems, a record you generally played at people (as opposed to for them). It even caused a proper controversy, which still seems to be playing  out. And oh yeah, the whole damned album‘s a masterpiece. Assuming noise is your thing, interruption, interference.” (Philip Random)

Negativland-1987-posing

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177. the king of carrot flowers [1-3]

“I’m pretty sure this is one of those it’s-not-about-what-you-think-it’s-about songs, even if you think the ‘I Love You Jesus Christ’ stuff is just being ironic. Because there’s a level of sublime madness at work here in the Neutral Milk Hotel (call it surrealism, I guess)  where Jesus is at least as real and miraculous as any carrot flowers, but the higher reality isn’t in the words anyway, it’s where they allow the music to go, the great waves unleashed, a perfect storm, except its not wind and rain but multi-colours, psychedelic and pure … and yeah, looking down from on high, the Lord God in Heaven smiles and knows that it is good, because multi-coloured psychedelia never killed anybody, just amused and enthused and perhaps confused them.” (Philip Random)

NeutralMilkHotel-1998-live

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462. seven deadly Finns

In which Brian Eno kicks out some almost punk intensity dada circa 1974, at least two years before such aggressive tendencies would even begin to stick, culturally speaking. Though the surrealism of the lyrics suggests other more complex forces at work than mere punk anyway. Also, the yodeling.

BrianEno-1974-live