Pixies - Tony's Theme

Artist: Pixies

Song: Tony’s Theme

Album: Surfer Rosa (1988)

Surfer Rosa is often cited as a favorite of music critics, and is frequently included on professional lists of the all-time best rock albums.

Combining jagged, roaring guitars and stop-start dynamics with melodic pop hooks, intertwining male-female harmonies and evocative, cryptic lyrics, the Pixies were one of the most influential American alternative rock bands of the late '80s. The Pixies weren't accomplished musicians -- Black Francis wailed and bashed out chords while Joey Santiago's lead guitar squealed out spirals of noise. But the bandmembers were inventive, rabid rock fans who turned conventions inside out, melding punk and indie guitar rock, classic pop, surf rock, and stadium-sized riffs with singer/guitarist Black Francis' bizarre, fragmented lyrics about space, religion, sex, mutilation, and pop culture; while the meaning of his lyrics may have been impenetrable, the music was direct and forceful. more

Before the Breeders and Frank Black, there was this Boston quartet, playing hardcore's rush and terseness against the acoustic grit and the minor-key flourish of Latin pop. Their first full-length album is their starkest, harsh and trebly, with the drums right in your face, and songs edited to eliminate any note that's not absolutely necessary. Singer Black Francis yelping away about destroyed bodies and the river Euphrates, alternately acting cryptic and crazed. Kim Deal, then calling herself "Mrs. John Murphy," contributes the highlight, "Gigantic," a creepy anthem about childhood voyeurism. The playing is snarly and tricky but unfailingly tuneful, and the hooks come out of nowhere, hiding behind the noise, and bite down hard. --Douglas Wolk

The "song about a superhero named Tony" ("Tony's Theme") was the most lighthearted song the Pixies had recorded, pointing the way to their more overtly playful, more

“Got a card in my spokes, I’m practicing my jokes, I’m learning!” The exemplar for riding around town, not going anywhere special, bike-as-big-toy rather than bike-as-transit. Surfer Rosa was the soundtrack to a couple years of my high school life, when I lived too far out in the woods to bike much of anywhere on my lonesome. Happily, that is no longer the case.

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He’s got the oil on his chain, for a ride in the rain No baloney Ride around on my bicycle like a pony I’m waving hi, hi, hi, hi, hi … I am Tony, super bicycle Tony, I’m racing Spitfire turn and pop a wheelie, burn and evil chasing I’m waving bye, bye, bye, bye, bye I got a card in my spokes …

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