Forget Flamenco: Outsider Music About Andalucía (pt. 2)

Out of Boston, and talkin’ about Andalucía. Me? Well yes, but also the Pixies, a heavily influential, if not universally successful rock group whose eclectic repertoire includes the subject of this post, “Debaser.”

Before continuing, I have to admit that the content of the song is not actually about Andalucía, rather the song is a reference to a 1929 surrealist short film called Un Perro Andaluz (or in its original French title Un Chien Andalou), which translates to ¨An Andalusian Dog.¨ It is debatable whether or not the strange sequence of scenes are meant to convey any meaning (directors Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí actively denied the existence of meaning, claiming that it was a work of uncensored emotion), and therefore even more obscure is the possible significance of the title. Nevertheless, the presence of Andalucía in the name of what I hope you will agree to be an ass-kicking rock song is motive enough for me to feature it in this series.

Perhaps less unclear than the film´s meaning is the Pixies´ decision to write a song about it, and use that song as the opening track of their best album, 1989´s ¨Doolittle.¨ I imagine that the group found artistic allegiance with the film for its intensity, experimentation, and just plain weirdness, as these stylistic elements coincide with the nature of the Pixies´oeuvre.

So what does all this have to do with Andalucía (or dogs, for that matter)? Is the title a chummy nod from the directors to their envelope-pushing contemporaries based in Spain´s southern region? Perhaps. Do men ride bicycles dressed as nuns in Andalucía? I´m sure it happens every Carnaval. Satisfied? Me neither, but analyzing any further would apparently make Buñuel and Dalí roll over in their graves, so we´ll  leave it there.

Pixies – ¨Debaser¨:

The full 16-minute Un Chien Andalou:


~ by lincolnbrody on October 19, 2010.

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