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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Teenager Of The Year

Frank Black

1994

Buy At Rough Trade
Teenager Of The Year
Album Summary

Teenager of the Year is the second solo studio album by American musician Frank Black. The album was released in 1994 by 4AD in the United Kingdom and Elektra Records in the United States. It was co-produced by former Pere Ubu member Eric Drew Feldman, who also played keyboards on the album. Teenager also features work by several backing musicians, including Lyle Workman, Moris Tepper and Black's Pixies bandmate Joey Santiago. The album reached No. 2 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and No. 131 on the Billboard 200 chart in 1994. The single "Headache" reached No. 10 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart that year.Although not originally well-received, the record is now widely praised by both critics and fans. The album is often cited as the high-point of Francis' post-Pixies catalogue, and was ranked No. 94 on Pitchfork's "Top 100 Albums of the 1990s".

Wikipedia

Rating

2.98

Votes

11378

Genres

  • Indie
  • Rock

Reviews

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Wed Jul 07 2021
4

I was voted teenager of the year in 1997. Incredible that I won it really, having only been a teenager for 14 days, but there you go. I remember Scott Kelly being particularly upset by this as he'd been a teenager for longer. He now goes by the username of spackers, so that's the kind of guy he is and shows you that he never stood a chance. Spackers. I mean, come on. Anyway, this album was good.

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Tue Feb 02 2021
1

How this is in the list I'll never know

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Thu Nov 04 2021
5

I LOVE this album cover and title. I also read that Frank Black was legitimately named Teenager of the Year. So I really wanted to love this. I didn’t think I had heard Frank Black before, but I did have in my library his cover of “Sugar Daddy” from the Wig In A Box album celebrating the music from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The Pixies are also a band I feel like I should know but don’t. So I’m jazzed to listen to this… I started off wondering if this was a punk album, but while the influences are strong it’s not that... “(I Want To Live On An) Abstract Plain” and “Calistan” are amazing! The guitar solo is awesome in “The Vanishing Spies”. “Speedy Marie” is fantastic and introduced me to the word ‘romaunt’. This is a smart album! Then comes “Headache” - another incredible song. Wow wow wow! A song about the aqueducts built by Mulholland?! Holy shit! This album is officially off the hook incredible. How many times can I keep saying how great a song is? How many songs are on this album…? A song about ‘pong’?! ‘Pachinko’ and ‘Parcheesi’?! Rhyming ‘potlatch’ with ‘Sasquatch’?! ‘Chateaubriand’ in the lyrics?! Photon powered spacecraft?! The 60s sci fi show The Invaders?! Not to mention I now know the word ‘thalassocracy’! Throw in catchy as hell music and… LOVE LOVE LOVE! You know an album is great when you keep saying ‘oh THIS is the best song on the album’ over and over as you listen. TEENAGER OF THE YEAR has that. It is a fantastic album that I can’t wait to listen to again. So much going on and so much still to discover!

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Fri Mar 05 2021
3

I had a feeling as soon as I mentioned the hot streak we'd lose it. This isn't bad though. Apparently Frank Black is part of the Pixies, I do like what I've heard from them. Sometimes his singing reminds me of Lou Reed and Mark Kozelek. Many of the songs feel like fragments, but there's a good force of rock driving throughout. This seems like a really creative guy who felt repressed by being in a band, so he's letting it all out in a solo project. I respect that, even though I don't love the final product. There are a few good tracks sprinkled throughout, but as a whole it's nothing too impressive. Favorite tracks: Calistan, Headache, Abstract Plain. Album art: This made me laugh when I saw it last night. It's a cool cover, but what? Why was this big adult man coronated "teenager of the year"? Why is his free hand aimed to roast someone with a "what are thoooose"? 3/5

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Wed May 11 2022
3

Teenager of the Year is too much long for it's own good. There are songs strewn throughout the album where there are moments that stick long enough to be memorable and where songs can be utterly forgettable. If this were split into two albums, maybe it could be a better overall achievement by Frank Black but, as one whole, it's okay. Favorites: Whatever Happened to Pong?, (I Want to Live on an) Abstract Plain, Calistan, Freedom Rock, Fiddle Riddle, Olé Mulholland, I Could Stay Here Forever, Pure Denizens of the Citizens Band.

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Thu Sep 08 2022
5

There is something really quite special when an album you love but never imagined would make it on the list comes up. And so, here we are, with Frank Black’s second solo album (his first is also pretty good). Unleashed from the now split Pixies (temporarily split, as it turns out) although still working with Joey Santiago who delivers some fine guitar solos, Black indulges his love of space, aliens, conspiracies, sci fi, deserts and his and the water supply to California. Most tracks are short, snappy and punchy, (The Hostess with the Mostest is a nifty slice of diner pie clocking in at 1m 56s) alongside some extended surf rock and ska tracks. At the time, many called this ‘Pixies on the Beach’ and whilst there is light and sunshine here, Black’s oddities and obsession never quite put the listener at ease. But he’s clearly enjoying creating some pop rock tunes, singing not screaming and it makes for a fun, quirky, terrific record.

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Fri Feb 05 2021
4

If anyone is familiar with Jeff Tweedy's (Wilco frontman) first band Uncle Tupelo, this album has a few songs that sound just like it and I love them. Never explored the Pixies much further than the hits, and always thought they were just eh. But I was really digging this guys style. Alternative with a slight country influence at times. Made for some earnest songwriting.

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Wed Sep 22 2021
4

You'd be forgiven for not realizing this is the main dude from the Pixies, when he went by the stage name Black Francis. Apparently this thing came out in May, 1994, but this is my first time ever hearing of it. In fact, my only familiarity with Black Francis/Frank Black's solo work is a great cover he did of The Beach Boys' "Hang On To Your Ego". There's a very good chance that if I had more than 24-hours to sit with this album, it would warrant a beloved 5 rating.

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Mon Dec 12 2022
3

The older I get, the less tolerance I have for double albums. Give me a concise 40-45 minute record, with just your best shit. Leave me wanting more, don’t make me want to walk away because you keep rambling. Save the rest for a bonus ep or another standalone record. There are very few double albums that justify being 65-80 minutes long and Teenager of the Year isn’t one of them. There’s probably a great, 5 star, record in here, but there’s too much similar sounding sprawl to make this a concise, enjoyable experience. Let’s be honest, no one needed a Frank Black reggae/dub excursion, which underscores my point about double records: just because you can do something (fill a cd with 80 minutes of music, record a reggae track) doesn’t mean you should. The best parts of this record are when the song structures get a little complex and the instrumentation gets varied (though a lot the synths and keys on this record definitely sound dated). I wouldn’t call them “prog” songs, but they are certainly “prog-like”. Even then, these songs become indistinguishable towards the end. As whole, the album attempts eschew formula with varied stylistic choices, but the songs themselves all follow a very similar formula. 13 or 14 songs into Teenager of the Year, you’ll probably be thinking to yourself, “Ok, I get it already” or “didn’t I hear this song already?”. Then, you’ll realize you still have another 8 or 9 tracks to go.

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Sun Oct 31 2021
1

Fitting that the most popular song on the album is called Headache. Did not like it very much. Not worth a listen to me. 1

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Sat Jan 30 2021
5

I really enjoyed this, it was a chaotic mess that reminded me of a more grungy They Might Be Giants at times? Need to look into more Frank Black and The Pixies. "Headache" was the best track, but there were a lot of tracks I was fond of. "Ole Mulholland", "Space is Gonna Do Me Good", "Thalassocracy".

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

You’re like wtf is this? Then it grows on you. Is it good you ask? Idk I listen to the whole thing and I’m still puzzled.

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Sat Nov 11 2023
3

This album is like life - it peaks early This album is like life - it has it's moments, which only exacerbate the disappointments This album is like life - it's too long for it's own good Three lifetimes out of five 👶👨👴

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Sat Feb 24 2024
3

The CD era really was a terrible time for concise, solid throughout albums, instead opting for throwing everything in the artist could that would fit on a disc, and it leads to albums like Teenager of the Year. Frank Black has some solid ideas here, with that signature feeling of Pixies throughout, but it feels like something is missing. What's missing, of course, is the rest of the band, but also those intricate decisions of what songs were deemed worthy of an album are gone, instead allowing for far too many tracks on an album that could be cut down to 1/3 of its size and be better for it. There's good playing, good song-writing, and strong enough melodies to be found on the whole project, but after an hour it all starts to feel the same, with little to help it stand out.

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Tue Apr 13 2021
5

What lovely off the beaten path subversive alt pop

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Wed Jan 27 2021
5

Everything is not good, but there are plenty of good songs, some even reminding me of Dire Straits.

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Wed Mar 31 2021
5

I like Pixies. I like Frank Black. I See FB and I upvote

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Wed Mar 03 2021
5

Love this album overall. Freedom Rock lives in my head rent free.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

One of my top 20 albums of all time.

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Mon Dec 06 2021
5

4.5/5. Very consistent for so many songs. Can definitely see it influencing Toadies, POTUS, etc.

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Thu Feb 10 2022
5

I love that Charles Thompson IV took his initial stage name of Black Francis and flipped it to Frank Black as he set off on his solo career. But as a big Pixies fan who never listened to Black's solo work, I started "Teenager of the Year" with unreasonable expectations. I liked a few songs on the first half of this double album, but somehow I got to track 10, "Two Reelers," before I got the Pixies feel I was hoping for. Then I really liked most of the rest of the album. And I kept thinking, what was going on with the first half - were there just too many songs that should have been cut from an overstuffed album? So I had to give it another listen. And not only is the first half better than I initially gave it credit for, but the whole album is fantastic. You're gonna have some misses among 22 tracks, but the overall quality and variety while still maintaining much more Black Francis-ness than I first gave it credit for is a joy. The Pixies were never a big commercial hit, and Black's solo stuff even less so. But this album definitely deserved to be held among the best of its time. Though I'm sure part of the problem was that this came out in 1994, a year with an absolute glut of completely amazing rock music. It's probably generational, but for me it might be rock's greatest year.

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Thu May 12 2022
5

Never ad erd of deez but its qite nice and feels qite of the time.

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Fri Dec 23 2022
5

Неожиданно круто

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Wed Feb 01 2023
5

Very impressed! What a great surprise!

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Wed Feb 01 2023
5

Wow this was fantastic. I’d heard Calistan before but there were so many bops. He managed to keep his craziness while also churning out some really catchy stuff. Lot of heft here. Secures the 5.

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Fri Jun 16 2023
5

I love Frank Black/Black Francis/Pixies/etc. While his solo stuff is a little more hit and miss compared to some of the Pixies pre-breakup albums, this is probably my favorite of his solo albums and I really love it.

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Fri Jun 16 2023
5

Absolutely love this album. I have no idea how many times I've listen to this. So happy to see it on the list!

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Sun Jul 02 2023
5

Looks like we have Pixies here before Pixies. And as with that band, I really liked Black Francis' album. Very diverse, you can never know what is going to happen next in the song. Just a very solid record, I'm actually surprised I haven't heard about it more. Over 20 songs with many diamonds in there, I'm looking forward to listen to them more often.

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Mon Jul 17 2023
5

((Totally new for me. Excellent and different. a relief it isn't crap. This is a wretched list)) Adventurous? ...you like it non-standard sometimes? Or maybe you are bored and need something edgier to meet your mood ? Take one of these then. It might work.... Excellently chaotic music, suited well to almost any mood, but perhaps best suited driving top down along Mulholland at some crepuscular dawn after an all night pool party, half open Hawaiian shirt, RayBans and a 52mm girth Cuban between the lips. Haven't you heard of this band? Me either. He played with the Pixies. This description from Wikipedia makes help to make sense of what is going on, and why the guitar sounds are pressing familiar buttons you can't put you're finger on: "His vocal style has varied from a screaming, yowling delivery as lead vocalist of Pixies to a more measured and melodic style in his solo career.[4] His cryptic lyrics mostly explore unconventional subjects, such as surrealism, UFOs, and biblical violence, along with science fiction and surf culture.[5] His use of atypical meter signatures, loud–quiet dynamics, and distinct preference for live-to-two-track recording during his time with the Catholics, give him a distinct style within alternative rock.[6] Source: Wikipedia, obviously.

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Wed Aug 02 2023
5

this rips, can always use more heyday pixies

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Fri Aug 18 2023
5

Ondanks dat ik het idee heb dat ome Frank graag de mensen ook een beetje wil irriteren kan ik z'n muziek altijd heel goed hebben. Album is een tikkeltje aan de lange kant (ruim een uur), maar blijft best interessant. Ik geef een hele lichte 5 sterren. Ik vind het te goed voor 4, maar de andere 5 sterren albums zijn vrijwel allemaal nog net iets beter.

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Fri Aug 18 2023
5

had pretty low expectations for this because 1, I forgot who Frank Black was (frontman of Pixies), and 2, the album cover, title, and seeing that it was a 90s alternative album, I was expecting some mediocre grunge-metal so glad that this is actually fucking fantastic although now that I know who Frank Black is, it makes sense that the guy who wrote the songs for Surfer Rosa and Doolittle would write an album like this - 10/10

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Wed Oct 04 2023
5

There are so many odd things here that I've loved for almost 30 years. TIL that Two Reelers is about The Three Stooges. What an odd dude.

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Tue Oct 17 2023
5

6 stars. This was my bible, my shield, my parents, and my best friend. A lot of Pixies fans couldn't bridge the gap between that band and this (and his first solo one, for that matter), but it all made sense to me. Where I think a lot of his musical ideas fell into ruts as time went on, this is one where every song and every diversion in every song was still paying off big time. 10 stars. This was way cooler than anything on the radio - we were swimming in a real sea of shit with the copy-of-a-copy grunge and mass-produced R&B. This was the only album with songs about video games, going to malls, visits from aliens, and The Three Stooges - sung with all the passion of Celine Dion singing about the power of love or whatever. A million stars.

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Sun Oct 22 2023
5

I loved this, which was unexpected.

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Thu Jan 11 2024
5

When this was good it was brilliant, particularly when it was more punky which was the case for the first few songs. Reminded me of Weezer and I thought this album would be exactly what I always wanted from the Pixies. For the album as a whole there was a lot of pixies-sounding tracks, which while still great didn't stand up to the heavier stuff for me. Album was a little bloated too, could have trimmed about 25% of just okay tracks to end up with a better album. Saying all this, some class songs on this, 4.5.

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Thu Jan 11 2024
5

This is class! Like the Pixies meets Rocket from the Crypt, with great melodies and catchy little hooks. I didnt connect the name to Pixies to begin with, and I’m not sure why Ive never listened to Frank Black’s solo stuff given Ive been a longtime fan of Pixies. It is long, but bar a couple of tracks they are all excellent. And it doesnt really outstay its welcome especially given there’s over 20 tracks on this. Will be back.

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Sat Jan 13 2024
5

One of the very best albums of all time. Amazing songs. Wonderful delivery. Great artist. As near perfection as you can get. Immediate, punchy, weird, a high octane window into the quirky world of Frank Black/Black Francis.

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Tue Jan 16 2024
5

This album is good but long. Frank’s voice sounds as good as a Pixies album here, and it feels like he made a Pixies album under his own name. What a genius. 5/5 Fav: “Calistan”, “Headache”, “Whatever Happened to Pong?” Least Fav: None

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Sun Jan 21 2024
5

Another album that I already know well and love . It’s been a minute tho and I’m overdo for a visit. Some great recommendations here Thankyu

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Sun Jan 28 2024
5

Song: Headache This is the second coincidence of the project—the Pixies today and their lead singer today. This isn't the type of music I usually listen to, but something about it just really hit me. I really enjoyed this song, the lyrics, the instrumentals (that keyboard, for some reason). I would absolutely listen to that again.

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

Eu tinha tentado ouvir com a Flora, sem prestar muita atenção, mas não deu, foi incômodo. Tentando novamente, agora com atenção e acompanhando as letras.... Uau. Tem melodias deliciosas e tem bastante mudanças. Foi muito bom ficar esperando para ver como ele iria trabalhar com a voz, cada verso era uma surpresa!! O toque punk de algumas é lovely.

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

inesperadamente incrível! cheio de camadas, super fun!

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Thu Feb 01 2024
5

I felt like I was in the 90’s

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Fri Feb 23 2024
5

great thalassocracy (i wanna live on an) abstract plain calistan the vanishing spies speedy marie headache freedom rock fiddle riddle ole mulholland the hostess with the mostest superabound big red space is gonna do me good white noise maker pure denizen of the citizens band bad, wicked world

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Thu Mar 21 2024
5

One of my favorite new-to-me albums I've gotten on this list. Sometimes double albums can feel like a drag, but this one could've kept going and I wouldn't have been upset. I enjoyed every last song, zero skips on this album for me. There are times where a song sounds like it's going to be a generic pop/indie song, but then he puts his own little twists in there that make it utterly unique and just plain cool. It's a super fun album, but it always maintains a little edge to it which I just love. I've been a Pixies fan for a very long time and am ashamed that I haven't listened to Frank Black's records sooner. I'm going on a short road trip next weekend and already can't wait to play this during my drive. Perfect spring time drive music. Finding albums like this makes this whole experience so worthwhile.

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Mon Mar 25 2024
5

Top, didn't know Frank Black is Pixies front man!

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Thu Apr 11 2024
5

This is really great. Reminds me a lot of the Pixies (because he was the singer), but a bit different. On consecutive songs ‘Superabound’ and ‘Big Red’, his vocals remind me of Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, respectively, but with far different music and more of a Pixies sound. Something about this album that I like in music is it switching between songs quickly. There are still some that get to shine, but it has a nice energy to it. The end

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Wed May 08 2024
5

Hadn’t listened to this in ages and I sang along to it.

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Sun May 19 2024
5

This album is so consistantly strong. Every single song is great, even if the album seems to go on longer than it should, I can't think of any song I'd be okay with cutting. Love this album. Also, I didn't expect Frank Black to look like that, his voice made me think of some super skinny guy with bronze skin lol

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Tue May 28 2024
5

Pixies minus a few, still good

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Fri Jun 14 2024
5

Lead singer of Pixies!!! I could hear it now that I realize that. Sir Rockaby and Fiddle Riddle are great songs.

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Fri Jun 25 2021
4

Pixies frontman. Pretty decent.

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Tue Sep 29 2020
4

Sounds very 90s. lots of songs.

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Sun Nov 08 2020
4

Quintessential Frank Black. A very solid effort in which the listener can cleay hear both its infuences and what it went on to inspire.

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Wed Feb 03 2021
4

Good rock album Didn't know he was the vocalist of pixies

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Sat Jan 30 2021
4

A lot of the stronger songs are in the middle and are sandwiched between some underdeveloped sketches (brilliant ones by a Michelangelo-level artist but still, sketches). Great album regardless and this Aussie gives Teenager of the Year four meat pies while watching some footy with your mates out of five.

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Sat Jan 30 2021
4

I enjoyed it a lot, it's a lot better in the middle, I really liked the speedy something song? I should listen to this one again.

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Mon May 10 2021
4

On the fence about this one, good or great. Overlong, and could certainly have been tightened up, but a lot of it rocks pretty hard

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Mon Jul 05 2021
4

Wasn't sure about this at first but then really got into it. Now I know he is the lead singer of Pixies, it makes a lot more sense. Listened twice - was good

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Wed May 05 2021
4

This album totally escaped my radar, but it's quintessentially 90's alt-rock. Fun to listen, ejoyable melodies, round compositions, memorable. Like it!

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Fri Feb 12 2021
4

1994, Alternative Rock, Frontmann von Pixies, sind banger dabei, stabiles Album, hard, seichte 4

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Thu Feb 11 2021
4

One of my favorite singers, and one of my favorite albums

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Sun Feb 14 2021
4

Going by the album cover and the fact I’d never heard of the band before let alone their music I was not entirely sure what I was in for, but I didn’t have great vibes. The saying goes ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover...’ and its entirely applicable in this example. I was pleased to hear the sweet sound of distorted guitar instead of the doof of bass when the first track started and I found it enjoyable from then on. The songs are all unique enough from each other but still hold a comparative southern rock grit that holds them all together. Vocals are a mix of Curt Cobain crossed with Chris Ballew (Pres USA), which sometimes sound as though they are going to stretch the bounds of listenability, but are actually well controlled and at times even tender. They are dirty and strained yet also compassionate and haunting at all the right times. While the music does have a 90’s feel to it, you wouldn’t immediately guess the album was from that decade. This album is guaranteed to win you over the more and more you listen. It’s a creeper in that sense. So put your prejudices aside and settle in...you’re in for a good time ride. Four stars!

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Wed Jun 23 2021
4

A very fun and well written punky/alt rock record, but it really didn’t need to be a whole hour long. Takes away from the energy and sustainability of the record.

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Fri May 28 2021
4

Can't believe I'd never heard of this album. Some great tunes.

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Wed May 12 2021
4

Now this is a lit album. Glad was able to listen to it

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Tue May 11 2021
4

This was a good one! Ratteling punkish, in the pixies-zone

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Mon Jul 26 2021
4

A fabulous stand-in for a true Pixies album, though the double-album length certainly seems to wear a little thin towards the end (the last 2 songs seems throwaway). Still, enough angst and energy to thoroughly enjoy.

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Mon Jul 26 2021
4

Love the Pixies, and this is more of the same. I guess I just like the dominating base lines and escalating guitars.

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Mon Aug 30 2021
4

So, Frank Black , aka Black Frances, aka Charles Thompson IV is the lead singer of the Pixies! Didn't know that. I enjoyed this and really did get some Dire Straits vibes on a couple songs. References a Wrinkle in Time in Headache, so its got to be good. 4

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Mon Sep 27 2021
4

No sabía quién era Frank Black y luego de escuchar un par de canciones y decirme "esto me suena a Pixies", vi por qué. Y es un álbum que siento que sonó fresco en su momento, menos "ruidoso" que lo que hacía con la banda, pero igual de enérgico, mis favoritas fueron "Thalassocracy", "Big Red", "Headache" y "I Could Stay Here Forever" 8/10.

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Wed Sep 29 2021
4

-I like the heavy start in "Whatever Happened To Pong?" -The intro to "Freedom Rock" definitely sounds like a riff I've heard before. Also the drums are great -I like the scream/jam in "Pie In The Sky" -Generally solid

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Fri Oct 08 2021
4

What can I say, never heard of Frank...but loved this. Will look for more!!!

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Fri Oct 08 2021
4

I always assumed I loved the Pixies, but it turns out I like the Pixies greatest hits album mostly. The big studio records seemd to have a lot of filler to me the last time I listened to them. (As always I reserve the right to completely 180 any and all of my opinions at whim). This solo album though seems much more my speed. Fiddle Riddle is a highlight for sure.

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Fri Oct 08 2021
4

Halfway through and this album sounds like a descent into madness. Starts really punky and turns into this weird synthy jam band. I dug it though

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Thu Nov 18 2021
4

pop punk with some Beefheart overtones - short sharp songs packed with hooks and tunes.

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Mon Nov 22 2021
4

Quirky pop/rock aplenty. I love this guy's brain. Dude writes about anything and everything, and gives zero fucks about current musical trends.

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Fri Dec 10 2021
4

Solid alt rock, if a little long for an album. I like that the songs are all pretty short and I could get more into this if I was like 10-15 years older than I am. 7/10

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Fri Dec 10 2021
4

7/10. Forgot to leave a review while this was fresh in my mind, but this was solid. Should return to it at some point.

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Fri Dec 10 2021
4

7/10 really catchy post-grunge stuff. good songs but way too many of them, would've made a great 40 minute album.

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Mon Dec 13 2021
4

I really enjoyed listening to this album! I knew ‘Headache’ but not the other songs. I’ll definitely return to this one.

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Mon Dec 13 2021
4

I listened to this twice and loved it, but don't have much to say about it for some reason. Except that I think it's interesting that he was the front man of the Pixies and I wonder if he thinks that those were his better years or not!

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Wed Dec 22 2021
4

Sounds more like pixies than Catholics albums. Need more time with it

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Mon Jan 10 2022
4

First time of listening to this one, I love the Pixies and this is relatable to them. I liked "Whatever Happened to Pong?" full of fast, quick songs that are exhilarating. "(I Want To live On An) Abstract Plain" is great and Frank at his tuneful best I think. Links to Lou Reed and Velvet underground can be heard throughout. Great album and rightfully on the list in my opinion.

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