Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Pixies - I Can't Forget

Pixies always had choice cover songs. The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Neil Young...Leonard Cohen. Their cover of "I Can't Forget" comes from a 1991 tribute album entitled I'm Your Fan, a record that also featured R.E.M, John Cale, Nick Cave and a bunch of other artists that no one particularly cares about. The best thing with the songs the Pixies choose to cover is that they truely make the songs their own. If you weren't aware of the song being a cover, in the Pixies case it may as well be an original. I even made this mistake a few entries back with "You Can't Break a Heart and Have It." Very few bands are able to pull of such covers where it doesn't even cross your mind that it wasn't penned by them. Two other examples capable of this I feel are Galaxie 500 and Cat Power. Anyways, "I Can't Forget" is no exception to the Pixies string of solid covers. They transform the loungey new-wave of the Cohen original into huge guitar-driven rock number. It's excellent.

The Pixies - I Can't Forget

However, I'm not trying to undermine the original, which is great in a laid-back 'wear your sunglasses indoors' way. I've noticed makes great late night listening for mid-week days. Charles (Black Francis for you non-elistist Pixies fans) actually said the record where this Cohen song comes from, I'm Your Man, is his favorite record ever. In the 33 1/3 book about Doolittle there's a part where during an in-car interview he needs to make a stop into a local record store to buy a copy (as well as an Iggy Pop album and Doolittle.) When I finally listened to the record (my first exposure to Leonard Cohen) I was really surprised. Other artists I discovered by his influences I could hear little bits where I could see how they formed the groundwork to the Pixies' music (specifically Captain Beefheart and Pere Ubu), but this Cohen album wasn't like that at all. The album is very new-wavey and at times pretty cornball with synth hit and excessive background vocalists. But at the same time it's really good and somehow "cool." But not "cool" like that middle school phase where boys do stupid things to their hair with gel, but rather a little kid with huge sunglasses and a bright neon shirt using some inanimate object as a microphone, belting out whatever he damn well pleases. It's cool without trying to be and maintaining one's individuality while being open to new things.

Leonard Cohen - I Can't Forget

"I stumbled out of bed
I got ready for the struggle
I smoked a cigarette
And I tightened up my gut
I said this can't be me
Must be my double
And I can't forget, I can't forget
I can't forget but I don't remember what
I'm burning up the road
I'm heading down to Phoenix
I got this old address
Of someone that I knew
It was high and fine and free
Ah, you should have seen us
And I can't forget, I can't forget
I can't forget but I don't remember who

I'll be there today
With a big bouquet of cactus
I got this rig that runs on memories
And I promise, cross my heart,
They'll never catch us
But if they do, just tell them it was me

Yeah I loved you all my life
And that's how I want to end it
The summer's almost gone
The winter's tuning up
Yeah, the summer's gone
But a lot goes on forever
And I can't forget, I can't forget
I can't forget but I don't remember what"

The Pixies @

Leonard Cohen - I'm Your Man @


Anonymous said...

great post -- very thorough

Ctelblog said...

Compoletely agree with anonymous. A rare thing - an interesting post

beatmaster23 said...

i have to say that the whole compilation of leonard cohen's songs (and the second one, tower of song, i think it was called) has got very good covers. a must for any collector.

Matt said...

Hey Matt,

I was checking out your post on the Pixies and totally agree, that is a great cover song!

My name is Matt Maher and I work for Ariel Publicity, a publicity firm that handles online publicity for various independent bands. Guards of Metropolis is one of the bands we represent and their drummer, Jason Carter, is currently on tour in Europe with Frank Black from the Pixies!

The Guards of Metropolis are actually two girls from Scandinavia’s Arctic Circle, and two guys from sunny California. With a style consisting of influences from the laid-back northern reaches of Norway and the frantic West Coast of America colliding they represent the best that both countries have to offer.

A fistful of angst-driven rock and roll riffs tempered by the layered harmonies that Scandinavian groups are famous for lay the groundwork for this rock-pop manifesto.

I think you really might like these guys and I’d like to go ahead and set you up in our database to receive music by them and some of other bands. Basically we send Cyber Press Kits, as emails, that include an mp3 and a bio, and if bloggers like what they hear and want to write about the band then we'll get the artist to send a full cd for them to review. Futhermore, we send out a bi-weekly newsletter featuring new blogs of our bands and describing the bloggers. This goes out to our 5,000 person email list so it will surely increase some readership of your site. Of course this is all free!

Let me know if this would be of interest to you and I’ll set it up.

Thanks Matt (great name by the way),

Matt Maher