A Life Altered

You'd think that my marathon of music downloading last weekend would have quenched my thirst, but no. Quite the opposite actually. I can't get enough music. Still working my way through the 600+ tracks from Music Day. Listening to an African soul comp at the moment. At the same time I've been continuing to download, filling out my back catalogue (New Bomb Turks - Destroy Oh Boy!, Dino Jr. - You're Living All Over Me) while also searching out cool new bands (Tokyo Police Club). But it doesn't stop there. Being the list-lover that I am, I've once again been trolling various "Best of" lists, like the Pitchfork 100 Best Albums of the 1980's where I found this hilarious review:

Quick - pick the most influential alternative rock band of all time. If you didn't choose The Pixies, I'll give you another chance. In the meantime, listen to Doolittle and learn from your mistakes. In all of indie/alternative, there may be no single album more borrowed from, adapted, or flat-out ripped-off than The Pixies' follow-up to Surfer Rosa. Steve Albini once dismissed the band as "boring college rock", and he was half right - The Pixies were college rock in 1989. (The "boring" half was obviously added to pad his notoriety, as anyone who could call this band boring is surely The World's Biggest Asshole.) Doolittle is almost senselessly varied - mood-altering hooks, poetically insane lyrics, larynx demolishing screams and surreal croons, surf, thrash, pop, slow burns and races to the finish line... Let me put it this way: if not for Doolittle, there would be no Pitchfork. In other words, the influence of this record is so vast that, fifteen years on, it has altered the course of your life at this very moment.
I laughed when I first read that review because it was obviously written by an uber-fan. But on further reflection, I have to agree that the album really has altered the course of my life. Truthfully, I didn't discover the Pixies until the year after Doolittle came out but it was a defining moment. One in which I abandoned radio pop forever and started to explore the vast world of music that resides outside of the mainstream. Without the Pixies I don't know that I would have spent my university days scouring little hole-in-the-wall record stores. I may not have suffered cumulative hearing loss from years of seeing loud bands in tiny clubs with questionable sound systems. And I probably wouldn't be lying on the couch with my laptop, at this very moment, downloading so much music that it will take me a year to listen to it all.


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