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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 119
Mon. May 7, 2012

“I Bleed”
Pixies
1989

“♫ Prithee my dear/ Why
are we here? / Nobody
knows/ We go to
sleep/ as breathing
flows My mind
secedes—I bleed
[…] ♫”

Pixies’ Doolittle and I have shared in many music memories throughout my forty years—the first is going to Hogwild Records in San Antonio, with my older hermano to purchase my own cassette version circa 1989. Almost ten years later, I recall all of us singing every lyric to Doolittle while I drove a car load of amigos on a road trip from San Antonio to New Orleans. Finally, I remember every one of my favorite bars in the 504, all had Pixies second studio album in its jukebox. So yeah, you could say Doolittle and I go way back.

Today I rediscovered one of my favorite Pixies cuts. From Doolittle and, tucked between “Wave of Mutilation” and “Here Comes Your Man,” is this very bass heavy and Kim Deal flavored “I Bleed.” If you recognize the Surfer Rosa-esque bass-line, at first, “I Bleed” sounds like “Gigantic [part II].” But in reality it’s Frank song with sultry harmonies from Kim.

But what was “I Bleed” Truly about?

Frank Black Francis admitted to Ben Sisario, author of his 33 1/3 tome on Doolittle, during the first part of “I Bleed”—“I was a slave to the rhyme scheme.” Frank further explained this to NME in 1989 when he said.—“all this is just a rhyme structured AABCBDD. It’s all very automatic.” Frank continued describing the meaning to “I Bleed” by saying—“The rest is about Arizona. There’s a very famous cliff dwelling there, with two or three storey houses about a mile up inside these cliffs. It’s about 900 years old and you can still see the handprints from the people who pressed the plaster onto the walls. And you can take your hand and place it in the print and it’s very wooh. ”

“I Bleed” is a perfect example Frank Black’s automatic writing technique. Frank believes in the Robyn Hitchcock method of auto songwriting made him “more confident” about his own methods of automatic writing. Black explained— “[Robyn] talked about saying something without thinking about why you said it, and because it has a root inside of you, it’s much more real, true to you, than if you think and analyze everything.”

Vampires, fear of death, bleeding, Arizona cliffs—who knows the true meaning of “I Bleed” but does it really matter? One thing we all can agree in is Polly Jean Harvey’s description of her favorite Pixies song. “I just think “I Bleed” is a beautifully structured, very powerfully, haunting, scary and moving song.”

So take out your copy of Doolittle from your shelf, crate, box of tapes, CD, playlist and—
select “I Bleed,” create new memories while you crank up the glory that is the Pixies tonight.

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