PIXIES – ‘Hear Me Out’: One-Off Single or New Direction?

Old school Indie Rock Outfit try out a new look with their new 12” release

‘Hear Me Out’ by the American alternative rock outfit Pixies, is the latest track from their eponymous new 12” release. Recorded during their Beneath the Eyrie studio album session, this new single (which comes with a cover of T-Rex’s ‘Mambo Sun’ on the B- side) breaks away from any of the musical norms that the band have produced since the release of their first studio album, Surfer Rosa. In spite of this being quite refreshing for band and fans alike, is this a new path for the Boston based group? Or is this a cool little one-off and back-to-business?

To understand why this new single is a little different to their previous work, we have to take a look back at the aforementioned Surfer Rosa, and their most critically acclaimed work, Doolittle. Both of these LP’s can be regarded as the pinnacle of American Alternative Rock in the late 80’s. The contrast of the damning and frankly nihilistic lyricism tuned to the upbeat, aggressive and attractive sound can be found on so much of their early music. So much so, it would later be an inspiration for grunge artists such as Nirvana.

Kurt Cobain talked to Rolling Stone Magazine in 1994 about the writing process of ‘Smells like Teen Spirit; “I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies… When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily… We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard.”

Their latest LP release, Beneath the Eyrie, was written and produced to the same front as their debut and its successor, with positive results. Songs like ‘Catfish Kate’ are similar in style to that of  Surfer Rosa’s ‘Cactus’ and Doolittle’s ‘Wave of Mutilation’, with macabre lyricism being paired with blasting guitar riffs. Pixies as a result have continually stuck to their well tested music formula. That was until however the release of ‘Hear Me Out’.

The music in itself is still fast paced and distinctly rock-y, but instead of the intense vocals of Black Francis, we are treated to the light and calming voice of bassist Paz Lenchantin, musicality complimenting the lyrics. In spite of verses detailing that life is full of problems and endings, the song’s melancholy is countered by the rhetoric of the chorus; “It’s alright It’s OK It’s alright It’s OK”

And with the current global crises and issues that we face, this change in lyrical approach is very much appreciated!

‘The music video for ‘Hear Me Out’ also plays into the idea that the world right now is in a state of confusion. But this does not have to mean that we succumb to negative emotions, or let that toy with our senses. The message of ‘Hear Me Out’ clarifies that we can easily change our ways for the better. The setting of the American West further cements the feeling of trying to find the calm within the storm. And the artistic activities depicted within the music video show that our humanity depends on our resolve to remain fresh and authentic. In accordance to this, Pixies have always tried to show their support for avant garde. This was best seen when they echoed the surrealist movement in the opening track on Doolittle, ‘Debaser’. By therefore applying a new innovative style to their music, they are telling us that it is time to do the same with our lives.

Initially, ‘Hear Me Out’ did not produce the awe that I felt when first listening to Doolittle. But since coming back and listening to it again; this song not only could reinvent Pixies sound, but it could go on to define the alternative rock music scene in these troubling times. And that can only be a positive thing. 

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So, if this is a fresh step into making more popular rock music then I cannot wait to hear more of this original content! However, if ‘Hear Me out’ is a one-off, I will still applaud them for creating another cutting edge track that adds to their alternative vibe.

‘Hear Me Out’/ ‘Mambo Sun’ was released on vinyl on the 16th October. Order it now, here

‘Hear Me Out’ and ‘Mambo Sun’ are also now available on all good streaming platforms.

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