Friday, April 13, 2007

No. 13 Baby (1989) – Pixies

The number 13, especially when it coincides with Friday, has unlucky connotations in many cultures. The girl who so entices Charles Thompson IV (a.k.a. Black Francis a.k.a. Frank Black) scoffs at such superstitions, flashing a “tatooed tit” which bears the maligned integer. In turn, Thompson is inspired to renounce blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty for the carnal feistiness of the brown-eyed chola who has caught his attention, guitars spitting out ferocious flares to fortify Black Francis’ shrill squeals of wantonness. “Viva! . . . La loma,” he exclaims as he eyes her offerings.

Although of lecherous distinction, “No. 13 Baby” comes off as an other-side-of-the-tracks awakening of sorts wherein the social boundaries of race, class and culture melt into meaninglessness in the heat of desire. Guitarist Joey Santiago tastefully lays down intervals and arpeggios as the rest of the band escorts the instrumental latter half of the song into the tequila sunset. Presumably, the temptress is gallivanting off to fresh territory, fully expecting to attract scores of new admirers to worship her. Triskaidekaphobics need not apply.

  • Listen to "No. 13 Baby" and purchase from iTunes Music Store.
  • Attends Ou Va-T‘En (1965) – France Gall (Serge Gainsbourg)

    The best pop music is constructed of elements with universal appeal. Even for those of us who don’t understand the French language, France Gall’s brand of yé-yé girl pop exemplified in “Attends Ou Va-T‘En” conveys a familiar air of apprehension. One recognizes the melodica’s latent distress imparted with doleful notes, Gall’s anxiety seeping through the opacity of a troubled melody, set to a locomotive canter that traverses the countryside en route to a hook that portends the dénouement.

    As the muse and model for April March decades later, Gall lent a voice apropos to the songwriting brilliance of Serge Gainsbourg that transcended the barriers of language. (Unfortunately, her career also suffered as a result of being artistically exploited by Gainsbourg.) With a title that translates as “Wait for me, or get lost,” it’s any English-only listener’s guess as to what presently concerns the song’s protagonist, but the pathos of a fait accompli is easily absorbed.

  • Not available from iTunes Music Store.