22/08/2019: “Wave Of Mutilation” by Pixies

Particularly astute people might guess that “Wave Of Mutilation” is not a happy, upbeat song about the beauty of human nature.

It’s a song about a trend of Japanese businessmen driving their cars off cliffs into the sea. Japan has a very pressured society, and a high suicide rate.

When you listen more closely to the lyrics, the nautical theme becomes more apparent, as the song drops references to the Mariana Trench (“Find my way to Mariana”), and crustaceans.

The Pixies are not at all unfamiliar with this sort of macabre topic, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that they turn it into such an anthem. The chorus is catchy and energetic, the verses stately yet no less engaging.

The crunchy, grungy sound of the guitars lays a foundation for the hordes of similar sounding bands to follow, but it is important to note that the Pixies were doing this before it was cool. Not many Pixies songs sound exactly like this though…

This track has a detached, surreal quality to it, but as if this wasn’t enough, there’s a trippy “surf” version, which apes the surf rock trend and adds a unique Pixies quality to it!

The song came out in 1989 on Doolittle, the band’s second album.