Strange as it may seem, Trompe Le Monde is the only Pixies album I purchased right after it came out, as it showed up during that insane last third of 1991 where so many of my favorite records came out, but after being bowled over by Bossanova and then Doolittle, I listened to Trompe Le Monde as much as any of them, sitting out on the porch of my Tower District apartment sipping a pre-drinking drink.
And why not? At this point, the Pixies were just cruising. Like its two immediate predecessors, nearly every single song on Trompe Le Monde rewarded repeated listening with hidden depths, starting with the opening title track, the third straight fastball to open a Pixies record.
After a few seconds to gather the rest of the band around the guitars of Joey Santiago and Black Francis, “Trompe Le Monde” just takes off, with Kim Deal and David Lovering fully locked in while Black Francis summons his pretty voice to sing his nonsense words.
Why do Cupids and Angels continually haunt her dreams
Like memories of another life is painted on her shirt in capitals
Out on the free free way there’s only she an the they
Represented by the lights
But it didn’t matter what he sang, because you were listening to Deal’s bass runs, Lovering’s drum rolls alternating with a double-backbeat, and especially those crazy hooks that Joey Santiago was stuffing into the background. And in fact, Santiago’s barbed-wire triplets — basically the peak of a metal solo as a hook — often caused me to burst out laughing at both how out of place and perfectly placed they were.
And by that time, the song had stopped, and gone into a quick waltz-time part so that Black could sing into an old timey microphone.
We went to the store and bought something great
Which samples this song from Washington state
After a quick little solo over the waltz-time part, “Trompe Le Monde” remembers that its a Pixies album opener, and quickly regains escape velocity so Francis can continue with the next verse.
Go, go little record go it is named by some guy named Joe
And the words are the letters of the words
Said electrically played for outer space and those
Of they who paid this song is twice occurred
And now its time to go away on holiday
Whereupon it just ends, having enriched all of our lives in just 1:47. And maybe you can resist a verse that starts “go, little record, go” but I sure as shit can’t, even if the rest of what he was singing was unintelligible at best, and obscured by Santiago’s leads anyways.
For me, who’d been listening to older Pixies for most of the year, “Trompe Le Monde” was exactly the kind of album opener that just made me want to dig into the rest of the album. And I sure as shit wasn’t disappointed.
“Trompe Le Monde”
“Trompe Le Monde” live in Brixton, 1991
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