Tuesday, 10 August 2010

‘U-Mass’ – Pixies (1991)

“And stupid stuff,
it makes us shout”

ABBA at one in the morning. No-one should have to suffer that. (And if you disagree, you may well be reading the wrong blog.) And this wasn’t a one-off. This was a neighbour in the flat downstairs who seemed to be taking the philosophy of ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)’ far too literally.

You could bang on the floor and you’d get a torrent of abuse back. You could write a polite note and it would have no effect. So I tried another approach. When I got up for work at 6.30am, I’d move my old paint-splattered ghetto blaster (I’m guessing they’re not called that these days) into my bedroom, face the speakers towards the floor, and crank out ‘U-Mass’ by Pixies. Childish? Yes. Immensely satisfying? Absolutely.

This song seems perfectly engineered to wake your neighbours. It starts with a raw guitar riff and only gets louder – with the drums then pounding in, closely followed by the bass. And as it’s picking up speed to the first chorus, Black Francis drops in a wonderfully unnecessary sweary bit for added pleasure. Now, I don’t condone this kind of language. But, hey; stick your ‘Dancing Queen’.

After lots of typical Pixies yelping (“It’s EDUCATIONAAAAAL!!”), the song pulls a glorious false ending, before crashing back in on a final burst of full-on distorted guitar mayhem. Three minutes of perfection. And after that, you could hear my neighbours were up and moving about – job done. But not quite yet. As the final trick was always to let them settle down again and think the storm has passed, before coming back with an encore (something like the 17-minute version of ‘Sister Ray’ by the Velvet Underground). Reading this back it seems rather cruel. But remember this: ‘Mamma Mia’. 1am. Day after day. Yes? Exactly.

So, are they still around? Nah. Their landlord booted them out after two weeks and we all slept happily ever after.

Spotify linky:

Bonus linky (in case you need to annoy your neighbours too):

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