Black is Black

Living up to his Pixies heyday is a perpetual challenge for man of many names Black Francis. Even his most rabid fans are constantly judging new work against classic, time-tested Pixies’ platters. That’s not to say his post-Pixies output hasn’t produced occasional gems. Svn Fngrs, a Cooking Vinyl EP cooked up in 2008, is an excellent example. NonStopErotik drops today.

“In my heart, the vagina is almost everything.”

Francis is apparently randy. Fat, bald men need love too. Before you cringe at that image, the thrust of NonStopErotik isn’t really explicit or graphic. Francis’ lyrics have often been indirect (not to mention occasionally indecipherable) and Erotik isn’t much different. “When I Go Down on You” is a glaring exception. The title track is another, aping a phrase from Katy Perry’s fiance, Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s hilariously vulgar Russell Brand. “Inside of You” was the serenade Brand’s character Aldous Snow crooned at the Hawaiian resort’s open-air restaurant. Not so coincidentally, Francis had a tune on that exact film’s soundtrack.

“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.” — T.S. Eliot

Eliot, author of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (the basis for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical), is responsible for those words (although Picasso is often mistakenly credited with a similar statement), but his meaning is often grossly misinterpreted. Right-clicking on a photo and slapping your name on it isn’t the kind of theft Eliot would endorse. Lifting a line from an artist who’s influenced you and creatively incorporating it into a new piece is. Francis has done just that. I just happen to prefer Brand’s version.

I will still always have a soft spot for Black.