Listen, I can’t profess to being a huge fan of The Pixies (oh sure, I’ve got “Doolittle” of course, a greatest hits disc and, I believe, “Trompe le Monde”), but that’s only because I’m not. I AM, however, a huge Christian Slater fan – or at least I was – and it was partially because of this fandom that I ran out, all willy-nilly-girly like to see “Pump Up The Volume,” almost the very minute it was released in theaters, some 800 million years ago – better known as “the eighties.”
As a result, it was the very first time I was able to hear The Pixies perform “Wave of Mutilation.” I loved it. And let me be perfectly clear on that last part – I. LOVED. IT! It was the almost-perfect little ditty for a lad like me. One who was very much feeling not like anyone else, and hoping to run away. One who was rather mopey about all these feelings, and wishing he had a mopey little theme song to travel along with him. This song, along with Concrete Blond’s “Everybody Knows” (from the same soundtrack, and a story for a different time) were the ones that almost worked perfectly as the theme I was so desperately in need of. Well, OK, I wasn’t too sure about all the seafaring imagery, but other than that, I had found my “T,” and it fit me quite nicely. This song, in fact was the reason I bought “Doolittle” in the first place. Noting it as one of the tracks, I madly skipped to the counter, all willy-nilly-girly like (what? I did a lot of that back then), to make my purchase.
But, the “Wave of Mutilation” I expected to hear, was not the one that I did.
No sir, not at all.
Those jerks. Jerks, jerks, jerks. How could they do that? I was looking forward to my mopey anthem, my theme. But I received a grueling, badass, punkish rock number instead. Fat with sound, heavy with Frank Black’s anger. I didn’t want anger, I wanted mopey! Suffice to say, I got over my anger, and “Doolittle” has become one of those albums that has never left my side. When the tape died, a CD replacement was procured in its stead. It really is an awesome album, head to toe, even if the nagging point about the use of the alternate “Wave” took me quite awhile to get over.
As I was getting over it, however, it dawned on me. Both versions were the same exact song in construct and lyric. Both songs were also performed by the same band. However, both songs seem wholly different. Each provided me with a different story, a different feeling, a different – well – outlook. That’s pretty amazing, if you ask me. True, the first will always be the version closest to my heart. My mopey heart. But the second’s no slouch either. Now, I’m pretty sure that The Pixies are not the only band imbued with this talent. This ability to produce the same song twice with two totally and utterly different emotional end results, but they were the first to ever get my notice while doing so. And if nothing else, Mr. Black can go to his final reward someday knowing that he impressed one weird mopey kid from Buffalo who used to go about all willy-nilly-girly like.
And for those of you wondering, yes, I shortly thereafter purchased the “Pump Up The Volume” soundtrack as well, to obtain my “Wave” of choice. Even though some of the best songs from the movie were not included (really, coming in at only twenty nine seconds, you couldn’t have made space for The Descendants “Weiner Schnitzel?”), and some of the worst ones are (sorry Sonic Youth, I just can’t abide by ya). It’s all good though, as I will forever more have a picture of a cute young Christian from the record sleeve, to keep me company. And my theme song? Well, as it turns out, both versions of “Wave” made it onto my musical life story in the final cut. Each on a different volume, and both for different reasons. So I suppose in the end, the mopey me did get his theme song after all.
Now, do we end the post with the mopey or the mad? The “wave,” or the “WAVE?” Why with both, of course! Please give them a listen, and tell me if you think I’m off my nut. And if you do, please just don’t go about it all willy-nilly-girly like, OK?
Firstly, the version I heard first…
And then, the more well known take.