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Monkey Gone To Heaven (Review)

Opening with four dramatic power chords, Monkey Gone To Heaven is a defining statement for The Pixies. The lead single from the 1989 Doolittle album, the verses of this innovative track feature a tell-tale lyrical style from frontman and principal songwriter Black Francis.

With a fantastical, but distinctly matter of fact delivery, Francis speaks of "...an under water guy who controlled the sea. Got killed by ten million pounds of sludge, from New York and New Jersey." From vivid descriptions of a polluted and decaying planet, the listener's imagination is then taken to the sky, with reference to the monkey who is gone, Gone to Heaven.

As the story unravels, some cleverly positioned moral questions begin to emerge. "The creature in the sky, got sucked in a hole. Now there's a hole in the sky." Francis raises clear environmental concerns here, a topic about which he is clearly passionate and well informed. In fact, Francis is self-credited as being the first songwriter to talk about El Niño in the Pixies track Wave of Mutilation. This issue, combined with Black's controversial views on popular religion, make Monkey Gone to Heaven a Pixies song that is deceptively weighty in its subject matter. He continues, "And if the ground's not cold, everything is gonna burn. We'll all take turns. I’ll get mine too," leaving the listener wondering whether Francis sees himself a victim of, or catalyst, for our planet's premature demise.

Melodically, the song is undeniably strong. While the verses predominantly feature a very simple drum pattern, shadowed by one of Kim Deal's signature bass lines, the chorus is significantly broader in its sonic arrangement. A string section adds a maturity to the song, yet also contributes to its washed out, other worldly aesthetic.

Following a stand-out guitar solo from Joey Santiago, the middle eight utilizes dynamic restraint to draw focus to Francis's vocal. He preaches, "If Man is 5, and if the Devil is 6, then God is 7." Suitably cryptic, this section apparently references Hebrew numerology, which Francis claims to have known little about at the time he penned the lyrics. Nevertheless, the words are delivered with a succinct bite that indicates a somewhat savage intent. This perhaps calls into question humankind's tendency to worship mythological figures, rather than looking for ways that they can help protect the very real creatures of nature.

Somewhere, beyond a tattered ozone layer torn by the noxious gases of a self-destructive population below, is a primate representative of both the beginning and end of mankind.... 

555 = An Eagle, Representative of Lustful Hovering  
666 = Number of the Beast or Devil 
777 = Loving Kindness 

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

— MK

The Pixies are one of those bands that manage to appeal to an extremely diverse cross section of society. As time passes, they claim an even greater entitlement to their reputation as one of the coolest American indie/alternative bands in history. Referenced openly by contemporary acts such as Placebo and Nirvana, and featured in the soundtracks to groundbreaking films such as Fight Club, this Boston band formed in Massachusetts in 1986. Members Black Francis, Joey Santiago, Kim Deal, and David Lovering succumbed to a spiraling demise of post 80s excess in 1993. The group disbanded for a time, before reuniting in 2004.

Monkey Gone To Heaven (Lyrics)

There was a guy 
An under water guy who controlled the sea 
Got killed by ten million pounds of sludge 
From New York and New Jersey 
This monkey's gone to heaven

The creature in the sky 
Got sucked in a hole 
Now there's a hole in the sky 
And the ground's not cold 
And if the ground's not cold 
Everything is gonna burn 
We'll all take turns 
I'll get mine, too

This monkey's gone to Heaven 
This monkey's gone to Heaven 
This monkey's gone to Heaven 
This monkey's gone to Heaven

If man is five 
If man is five 
If man is five

Then the devil is six 
Then the devil is six 
Then the devil is six 
Then the devil is six 
Then the devil is six

Then God is seven 
Then God is seven 
Then God is seven

This monkey's gone to Heaven 
This monkey's gone to Heaven 
This monkey's gone to Heaven 
This monkey's gone to Heaven

Contact Information:

The Pixies 
pixiesmusic.com 
facebook.com/pixiesofficial

Monkey Gone To Heaven (Viral Parody)

 

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