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on 12 June 2003
Following Doolittle, an album continually rated as one of the best albums ever (in a recent NME poll it was rated 2nd after the Stone Roses), was never going to be an easy task. The jury seems to be out on whether or not they accomplished this task.
Many fans of Pixies, including myself consider Bossanova a clever and sensible follow on to Doolittle. The melodies are the sweetest yet, songs like Alison are simply fantastic. The other half of Pixies fans seem to consider Bossanova a step too far towards commercialism, Dig for Fire about as accessable as the Pixies were going to get.
Whether you are a Pixies fan, or just have an ear for a great tune, you can't go far wrong with Bossanova. Worth buying after Doolittle.
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on 10 July 2004
As Pixies had hinted on 'Doolittle', their next album saw the band mutate into a slightly different beast. Gone were the Biblical references, frenzied Spanish vocals and (for the most part) sex; instead, Bossanova (the Pixies' fourth - and best - album)takes outer space as a frequent reference point and wraps it up in a dreamlike, sinister Summer's day. The sense of evil on the first three albums has now turned into a more mysterious feeling that - as on 'Ana' and 'Havalina' - occasionally draws clouds across the sun. Or something more ominous, maybe.
Although not quite as alien-obsessed as the following album, there's plenty here to suggest that Pixies were from another planet: The opening 'Cecilia Ann' and 'Rock Music', which suggest high-speed space travel and an intergalactic battle respectively; the lyrics to mini-classic 'Allison'; and the sci-fi-like theremin on the spookily romantic 'Velouria', to name a few examples.
The one fault with 'Bossanova' is that it is the first Pixies album to bear noticably less trace of Kim Deal. Her bass is no longer quite as dominant a force, she sings no lead vocals and not many backing vocals and contributes no new songs. That said, when her backing vocals put in an appearance - 'Velouria', 'Dig for Fire' and 'Havalina' notably - they add a divine dimension to already classic songs. As if to compensate, though, Black Francis' own vocals have mellowed. Not exclusively so - 'Rock Music''s vocal is nearly as terrifying as it was on 'Tame' - but when it's required he sounds both human and oddly angelic.
The album's crowning glory, however, is 'The Happening'. Telling the story of aliens landing on Earth ("saying 'Hi'") it encapsulates all that is great about 'Bossanova'. The verse is not unlike early Pixies: angry guitars, demented vocal, before erupting into a glorious sun-drenched chorus consisting of just one syllable stretched out in falsetto. Over an endlessly repated chorus, the final verse has Black Francis rounding off the tale in an slmost trance-like state. It's not as well-known as 'Gigantic' or 'Debaser', but it's more than equal to them.
Ultimately, your enjoyment of 'Bossanova' is down to to whether or not you are willing to accept that a band might want to stray from their winning formula. For those willing to listen, though, here is the sound of a band emerging into the light - but retaining enough of the dark to keep it interesting.
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on 15 November 2003
The pxies fourth album is regarded by many to be their most tame, and to a certain extent this is true. It does have more melodic, quieter tracks, but this does nothing to diminish the overall power of the album. I wouldn't describe bossanova as more tame than their previous efforts, more that it's well....smoother. Black Francis has another outlet for his continuing obsession with aliens in "the happening", and the beautiful vocal talents of both Francis and Kim are shown off in the closing track "Havalina". Other stand out tracks include "hang wire", in which Francis' demented vocal stylings are allowed to flourish to their fullest and "all over the world", which features outstanding guitars from Joey Santiago (check out his cowboy get up in the sleeve photo's). Over all, just as amazing as everything else the pixies ever did. But it and meet me at the hang wire.
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on 10 May 2013
just as i say. if you want to buy a pixies lp, don;t make it this one., they're past their amazing best. still excellent and worth a listen- any pixies is still better than 95% of whats out there. but buy one of the earlier albums im fairly sure nearly all pixies fans would agree. this is more commercial and accessible and immediate but its not really the better for it.
theres a theme (if not by lyric, then by sound- often both) and a feeling of outer space (check the title,. durr!..), of aliens, of area 51, the desert, of landings.. quite eerie, very plausible.... contrived but designed, in fact very crafted. very intriguing. if this is the album the pixies (for whatever reason) set out to create, then its easily a 5 star-er.
why would they? i'm not sure.
indie, noisy, anthemic, odd, vegas, desert (i'm struggling!..) music.
indie 'velouria' reminds me of 'house of love'.. excellent tune but lacks depth. side one also has the oddly, beautifully crafted 'ana'- mesmerises- quite haunting a delicate complex melody. i think about how you would come up with such a peculiar yet lovely chord arrangement..but then just leave it with the acceptance that black francis can turn a tune better than i ever could! thats why i stack shelves!! such is the world---
to close s1 i really like 'all over the world' its like a soundtrack from close encounters, pixies sound like they're convinced we have been visited. uncanny. it meanders. epic. he appears to talk to the aliens through a megaphone.
i've rarely known an album so themed in its vibe. 'down to the well' puts oasis in their place. a good ten years before (im guessing) this is the real thing.
the narrative continues in 'the happening' (about.. you've guessed it- an alien landing).
perhaps 3 stars is mean.
crucial thing for me is...its odd that a band can be so fresh, open and encompassing, and then decide for whatever reason to very finely tune in to a theme on a subsequent album. im still not sure how to take this, and would still put this down the list on pixies albums. they could haved gone in any direction, and this wasn't a bad one, just a strange one.
3 stars, 4, 5?? you decide.
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on 31 March 2002
Perhaps more so than any other Pixies album, this album showed that the band <had ideas and weren't just kids to say the least>. Here the group were keen to try slightly more conventional lyrics and a smoother, cleaner sound. It is a marvellously listenable album, although still retaining that cult appeal of Doolittle and Surfer Rosa. Many potential singles are the sign of a truly classic album, and this has at least eight - maybe more. The Pixies showed that you didn't have to be sullen and pouting to make a great indie record - just woollen and shouting. You'll love it.
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on 16 October 2005
I think this album takes one hell of a lot of listening to appreciate. When I first bought it I thought is she weird, velouria, dig for fire and the happening were the only good songs. After about five or six listens I began to really appreciate the songs on this album and rank it as high as doolittle but for different reasons. Black Francis has been subtle this time and not done what people expect from him but challenges you to accept a different side of the pixes, a more softer, melodic side to them. And if you give this cd a chance You'll love it just as much as anything else they've done.
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on 29 November 2013
As usual if you're interested in this version you're already a fan of this brilliant album. Being a strictly 2ch merchant I cannot give insight into the sacd element of this hybrid disk, however the remastered cd represents a significant improvement on my stock versions (both original cd and vinyl). Now I know so of the recording techniques were somewhat unorthodox to get a specific sound to some of the instruments but despite my love of Bossanova I found it increasingly difficult to listen through my excellent hifi setup as the recording was badly flawed.
With this (new) mobile fidelity version the soundstage is hugely improved. The separation spectacular allowing each member of this four piece room to carve out their element particularly Kim Deals bass. Also I believe it to be mixed better with Franks vocal lifted together with the other improvements removes that "dirge" element that soured my experience of late.
I know there are moments I long to relive the impact I had when this magnificence first met my ears through a green Sharp personal cassette player, but that was more about hearing something new and powerful. This disc allows you to hear every ounce of drive, passion and subtlety of one of the best and most influential bands ever and enjoy it to it's maximum.
In short it's worth the premium (particularly as the Minotaur version is not remastered).
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on 25 March 2004
When asked to name the best pixies album, people immediately jump to saying Doolitle or possibly surfa rosa. yet Bossanova certainly equals or evens beats them despite popular belief.
The album contains the same pixies formula. screeching, raw guitars, catchy choruses, and harsh vocals. What makes this album so good is the ability of Francis to combine the power and agressions of the songs with sweet and uplifting melodies. People accuse the pixies of softening on this album, yet even if this is the case it can be hardly descirbed as a bad case in evidence of the tracks displayed.
The energy is still there, at its most conventional on hang wire, dig fire and the superb stormy weather, but still present if released in a more restrained way on the incredible Velouria.
Whatever criticisms this album takes for being "lame", this albums confirms the god like status of the pixies as rock legends.
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on 20 July 2000
On this record the Pixies display a cleaner (and occasionally mellower) sound. It was seen by some as too polished but for me it is a perfect fusion of punk and pop. Which isn't to say there isn't still screaming (Rock Music might be their loudest moment) but generally it has to be said that the mood is lighter. The lyrics, for instance, are less pathological. Black Francis's interests have turned to, bizarrely enough, science fiction and meterology amongst other things. If you like the Pixies but you don't like their fiercer, more gothic moments this disc is for you.
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on 9 January 2015
Many reviews here say commercial, soft, pop etc. It is very much being compared with the other Pixies album. It is just different style to Doolittle and Surfer Rosa. Frank Black and Pixies show on this album that they can develope, like it or not. They can change rock style and still be Pixies with their fantastic music instead of trying repeating themselves ! Isn't that what makes a great band?
It takes some listening, but isn't that what makes an fantastic album? That it gets better and better the more you listen instead of getting bored after 3 listenings. Without describing the different songs, as they speak for themselves, I want to recommend this album as fantastic and being one of the most orginal and best rock albums ever made.
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