Debaser (3:07)

Cover of Doolittle

From Doolittle and 140 other releases

“Debaser” is a song by the American alternative rock band Pixies, and is the first song on their 1989 album Doolittle. The song was written and sung by frontman Black Francis and was produced by Gil Norton during Doolittle’s recording sessions.

“Debaser” was later released as a single in 1997 to promote the Death to the Pixies compilation. The single appeared in three forms: live, studio and demo.

The lyrics are based on a French surrealist film by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí called Un chien andalou. The film notoriously opens with a scene in which a woman’s eye is slit by a razor, which is referenced in the song lyric “Slicin’ up eyeballs/I want you to know.” According to Black Francis:

I wish Buñuel was still alive. He made this film about nothing in particular. The title itself is a nonsense. With my stupid, pseudo-scholar, naive, enthusiast, avant-garde-ish, amateurish way to watch Un chien andalou (twice), I thought: ‘Yeah, I will make a song about it.’ “Un chien andalou”… It sounds too French, so I will sing “un chien andalusia”, it sounds good, no?’

The title “Debaser” references the fact that Un chien andalou debases morality and standards of art, according to Black Francis. In the earliest version of the song, the line “un chien andalusia” was originally “Shed, Appolonia!”—a reference to the co-star in the Prince film Purple Rain.

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