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134 of 146 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums ever made
The Pixies "Surfer Rosa" is an amazing experience. This 1988 album is a superb mix of brilliant songwriting, insane lyrics, abrasive guitars and stunning melody. Many of the songs are brutal, with heavily distorted guitars and strange lyrics about incest and injury, yet they are often quite catchy and melodic. This single album influenced more bands than any...
Published on April 8, 2000 by the_ninja

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I like the Pixies and about half of the songs on the album
Published 3 days ago by yamatodog


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134 of 146 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums ever made, April 8, 2000
This review is from: Surfer Rosa (Audio CD)
The Pixies "Surfer Rosa" is an amazing experience. This 1988 album is a superb mix of brilliant songwriting, insane lyrics, abrasive guitars and stunning melody. Many of the songs are brutal, with heavily distorted guitars and strange lyrics about incest and injury, yet they are often quite catchy and melodic. This single album influenced more bands than any other album of the late 80s. But none of them can ever even hope of making something even half as brilliant as Surfer Rosa.
The first song, "Bone Machine" is a classic. It's the quintessential Pixies song. Also, listen to it and you'll realize how much they influenced Nirvana. "Break My Body" and "Something Against You" are fast and furious, "Broken Face" is one the best Pixies songs. "Gigantic" is haunting and beautiful, with thunderous guitars and drums swirling around Kim Deal's lone bass and beautiful voice. "River Euphrates" is all about melody, and it is excellent.
"Where is my Mind?" is the climax of the album, and possibly the best song made in the 80s. It is chillingly beautiful and unforgettable. If you haven't heard it, it's the song used over the credits at the end of Fight Club (great movie). "Cactus" is different, and "Tony's Theme" rocks. Although the last four songs don't seem quite as focused, they are still excellent.
To close, Surfer Rosa is one of those timeless, brilliant rock albums that everyone should own. What are you waiting for?
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely deranged. In a good way., February 7, 2003
By 
Shotgun Method (NY... No, not *that* NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Surfer Rosa (Audio CD)
Ah, the Pixies. What can I say about them that hasn't been said before? About 3 years before Kurt Cobain released Nevermind, the Pixies were hard at work perfecting their brand of twisted Beach Boys-meets-Sonic Youth-meets-Lou Reed-meets-Ramones indie rock.
Surfer Rosa is their hardest and rawest album--Steve Albini produced this one and it shows. Black Francis is even more psychotic than in Doolittle, ranting and screaming about incest and broken bodies in his bilingual vocals. Bassist Kim Deal contributes some beautiful backup vocals and a Pixies classic, the creepy Gigantic. Joey Santiago continues to prove himself as the most underrated lead guitarist ever, and David Lovering's percussion is...well..kinda there. It all amounts to a catchy, disturbing, and very unique recording that hasn't aged a day.
Amazing songs abound. The one-two punch of Bone Machine and Break My Body pretty much set the tone and it just gets better from there. River Euphrates and Where Is My Mind? are both among my personal Top 10 Pixies songs and the latter follows on the heels of the former. It's a slice of heaven. The rest of the album right up to the almost-instrumental closer Brick Is Red holds up to this high standard.
You want/need an introduction to the Pixies, and the origins of the modern alternative movement? Buy this and Doolittle right NOW.
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pixies are my friends, February 25, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Surfer Rosa (Audio CD)
The pixies saved me from the torments of social isolation.
The pixies are so awesome they make me want to eat people.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Without this album, there would be no Nirvana., April 5, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Surfer Rosa (Audio CD)
From the initial thump of the bass drum to Black Francis's last tortured yelp, this is pure indie brilliance. So far ahead of its time, it's not even funny; the Pixies had the soft-loud-soft formula down while Kurt Cobain was getting beat up by his peers for liking Devo. My favorite line is Francis ranting "you're so pretty when you're unfaithful to me," in the deranged opener "Bone Machine." If you haven't heard this album, then you still have much to learn about what is "alternative music." If only they had stayed together for a few more years, they may have eventually reaped the financial benefits that copy bands like Nirvana and (shudder) Bush reveled in. Maybe fifteen years from now, when it's IN again, the Pixies will reunite and take over the world. Until then, buy all of their records repeatedly, so you can support Kim Deal's sister's drug habit.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teen Heaven, May 11, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Surfer Rosa (Audio CD)
Ahhh nostalgia. The Pixies were the "College/Alternative" poster children of the late 80's, early 90's. Powered by the frenzied and always amusing lyrics of Black Francis as well as the alluring voice of bassist Kim Deal (The Breeders, etc.), the Pixies started making it big with the single "Monkey Gone to Heaven" off of 1989's "Doolittle." However, "Surfer Rosa" (which includes the debut EP "Come on Pilgrim") represents their earliest and most loveable work. While more money was spent producing later albums, "Surfer Rosa" stands on its own, less filtered, more raw, capturing the Pixes at a time when they were just beginning to coalesce as a band that "owned" its sound. For many Pixies fans this album is their greatest accomplishment.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only CD to ever blow me away on the first listen, July 12, 2004
By 
Lauren (Duluth, GA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Surfer Rosa (Audio CD)
How can I put into words how great this is? "Surfer Rosa" is one of the best CD's I have ever heard. I am a huge Nirvana fan, and when I first heard this CD, even I had to admit to myself that this band, the Pixies, laid the basic blueprint for Nirvana. When you actually take the time to listen to the Pixies, if you know anything about music at all, you realize that without them, the whole Seattle sound phenomenon may never have happened.
This is just an amazing album. Messy, explosive, dirty, raw, brilliant -- those are just a few ways to describe it. Every track is great in its own way, but some standouts are "Bone Machine," "Where Is My Mind?", and the Kim Deal-penned "Gigantic," one of the best expressions of female sexuality I've ever heard. All of the instruments are excellent, particularly the drumming, and Black Francis' (Frank Black's) vocals are perfect. Some say the underproduction of Steve Albini is pretentious and unnecessary, but it's not -- it just means you have to listen a little harder, and that's a great thing.
I first heard this CD the day before yesterday, and I've listened to it six times since then -- that's how undeniably great it is. Do yourself a huge favor, and run out right away to buy this. If you like the kind of music that led you to be checking out Pixies albums on amazon, you'll love this album.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RIGHT BEHIND REVOLVER....and the next thing you know, February 24, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Surfer Rosa (Audio CD)
Doolittle is flawless. Bossanova is Amazing. Surfer Rosa is beyond everything. time and time again as you listen to it, it takes you somewhere better and somewhere new. anyone that rates pixies overrated or in bad taste, they couldn't be more ignorant. they need to read and listen more. Listen to Surfer Rosa with your headphones and loud. listen to it 1000 times.
have a beer while you experience the album. spread the word. with all the redundant heartless music out today (blame mtv),
this album is more than essential. it is necessary. sorry for being so serious,just listen to it. it doesn't matter if you listen to garbage now, maybe your taste will change. if it doesn't, the hell with you. scumbag. hahaha just kidding, well not really.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums by one of the best bands., June 12, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Surfer Rosa (Audio CD)
One of the problems with these reviews on Amazon.com is that someone will generally only review something if they really care about spreading the word about how great that band is. Which means, of course, that 90% of the reviews are 5-star ones. And Amazon.com doesn't mind this, I'm sure, since they're trying to sell this stuff. But this is one of the few times you should listen to what people have to say about this album; You can see by reading these reviews that there are no ten-year old kids writing about the latest pop craze. These reviews are written by people with an understanding of what makes great music. You'll have to excuse us for gushing about the Pixies, but they were simply so far ahead of their time and their brilliance is so blindingly obvious that it's hard not to gush. Anyway, on to the review:
I couldn't seem to find out how to give this album 4.5 stars, which is what it truly deserves. Surfer Rosa is one of the best albums by the greatest band of all time. Doolittle is even more incredible, with absolutely no filler, while the other three albums (Bossanova, Trompe Le Monde, and the mini-album, Come on Pilgrim) are about on par with this one. Surfer Rosa is the Pixies at their rawest. I've heard this album described as "calculated noise". It sounds at first to be simply pure chaos, but on repeat listens you realize exactly how melodic it is. And catchy. I have yet to get "Broken Face "out of my head. But, unlike the fantastic Doolittle, Surfer Rosa does have some filler in it. "Brick is Red", a mostly instrumental, is a poor way to close the album. While it is played well, it's simply not that great material. It's not bad, it's actually pretty good, but compared to the absolutely great material on the rest of the album, it's a disappointment. And while all of the rest of the tracks are unbelievable, their not quite as incredible as the Pixies best album, Doolittle. I'd rate this as a five-star album and Doolittle as a 6-star album, but since I can't do that, I have to choose one notch lower than perfect. There are very few albums that deserve a perfect rating, and this isn't one of them. It's very close, and is an incredible album that everyone should have, but it still shows the signs of a band finding it's voice.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Influential, addictive, uninhibited genius, August 31, 2005
By 
This review is from: Surfer Rosa (Audio CD)
'Surfer Rosa' matched up the Pixies, on their first long player, with Steve Albini (later to produce Nirvana's 'In Utero') and he brought a sound that was as precise as a razor whilst somehow permitting completely uninhibitted performances. This album is, for my money, the Pixies' finest hour. At the time, this sound was basically unheard of, apart from the more delerious musings of Sonic Youth. But listening to Surfer Rosa is like watching someone load up a pistol and then fire it through you. It's an album you can feel, not just hear. The cranking, defiant 'Bone Machine' kicks off the album, probably one of the most confident opening tracks of any band on their debut album. Black Francis screams out 'You're so pretty when you're unfaithful to me!' and you know you're in for something different. All of the songs are great to explore over many times. The art school atmosphere of this record makes the lyrics fascinating cryptic exercises that you can listen over many times and find new angles. My favourite tracks are Cactus (very scaled down and hauntingly sexy), Break my body (which sounds like a jet taking off and is over in less than two minutes) and River Euphrates which features the most intense screaming to ever grace a recording. It took me many listens to work my way into this album and I'm still learning about it with each play. David Lovering's drums are beautifully recorded - every beat sounds like a body blow and this solid, gutsy foundation allows Kim Deal, Joey Santiago and Black Francis a lot of freedom to have fun with their playing knowing that they can land any solo they fly with onto Lovering's almost shockingly solid backbeat. 'Where is my Mind?' is the crowning achievement of the album known to many, but make no mistake, this speaks best as an entire album, and it came to be one of the most influential on the nineties (still two years away when this was made). Often imitated, but never bettered...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where Were Their Minds?, April 22, 2005
By 
Blake Maddux (Arlington, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Surfer Rosa (Audio CD)
Like The Smiths, The Pixies never made a bad record. They may have made a few that didn't live up to the standards of their best albums, but the lesser efforts by either band (eg, "Meat Is Murder", "Trompe Le Monde") could have been any other band's greatest masterpiece. During the brief but amazing careers, neither band ever really had anything to prove. Except, perhaps, that they could deliver on the promise of their initial offering. While The Smiths second "proper" album may have slipped a bit from their debut (even though their second actual release didn't), The Pixies surged full-speed ahead with "Surfer Rosa", the full-length follow-up to their debut EP "Come On Pilgrim". (One then can't help but wonder, could the band follow up on a masterpiece? I think that we all know the answer to that one.)

"Surfer Rosa", all 33 minutes of it, is overstuffed with everything that made The Pixies creepy, unpredictable, and impossible to resist. The guitars are sometimes chainsaws, sometimes lasers, and sometimes surfboards. (Plus, there is that cool distorted James Brown riff in "Bone Machine", and the beginning of "Something Against You" sounds like a game show theme.) Frank Black's vocals are alternately shrieking and pensive, while Kim Deal's are a winsome counterpoint, and the lyrics are always at least a bit obscure, no matter who is singing them. Finally, David Lovering's thunderous drumming gives the songs an earthquake-like quality.

For all the truth that there is to how modern and groundbreaking The Pixies were, The Velvet Underground and especially The Stooges are the most obvious influences on this record . But as I said in a previous review (of The Strokes' "Is This It"), rock's greatest bands usually combine elements of the music that came before them, and breathe new life into it. Nowhere is The Pixies' ability to do this more obvious than on "Vamos", which answers the question of what a jam session between The Velvets and The Stooges would sound like (assuming, of course, that either Lou Reed or Iggy Pop could speak Spanish). Iggy Pop screams are all over the record - "Bone Machine", "Something Against You", "River Euphrates", "Tony's Theme", etc. And while there is genuine beauty in the mess of this music, one cannot help but be struck by the creepy lyrics. Three of the first four songs make some reference to bones, usually broken ones. Moreover, strange sexual references are also sprinkled throughout the record, eg, "I miss your kissin' and I miss your head", "He bought me a soda and tried to molest me in the parking lot", "There was this boy who had two children with his sisters", "We'll have our sons, they'll all be well hung". (Considering this, the name of their 1989 tour - "Sex and Death" - comes as less of a surprise.)

Like The Velvet Underground, The Pixies had their abrasive and softer sides, and were able to display both on a single record, and often within a single song. On "Surfer Rosa", the softer - but equally cryptic - side is evident in the pensive "Where Is My Mind?", the T. Rex-ish "Cactus", and Kim Deal's delectable song "Gigantic", an innocuous-sounding song about voyeurism. "Gigantic" always comes as a bit of a welcome relief, as Kim Deal's voice is beautiful and the song is so damn singable. It is every bit as significant to the album's quality as any of Frank Black's songs. (It's too bad that his unwillingness to record her songs lead to their acrimonious breakup, but he probably couldn't help but feel a bit threatened. And Frank Black doesn't seem like the type of person you want to piss off.)

From the tempo-defying opener to almost the very end, "Surfer Rosa" storms through your speakers like an aural blitzkrieg. I say "almost" because the final song, "Brick Is Red", is practically a throwaway, but it at least gives the listener the chance to catch his/her breath. This is probably one of the Top 5 American albums of the 80s, yet is inexplicably excluded - as are all Pixies albums - from MOJO's book of the greatest albums of all time. This has been partially remedied in the most recent editon with the inclusion of "Doolittle", but it certainly didn't have to be one or the other, so the continued absence of "Surfer Rosa" is still inexplicable.

All the same, it is hard to go wrong with any Pixies record. This happens to be the one that I like the best, and I highly recommend to, well, anyone who hasn't heard it.
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Surfer Rosa
Surfer Rosa by Pixies (Audio CD - 2003)
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