A couple of weeks ago I gave my friend The Breeders' amazing first album, Pod. I wrote her a thing on why it's so good. Here it is, sans personal bits:
Pod is a really, really, really good album. At first I thought it was just okay, but it grew on me over a period of months and, when I actually decided to buy it for your birthday, I relistened again and thought it was exceptional. Every track is full of fantasticly original ideas that are totally worth stealing.
Also, it's just not me saying that this album is really good. Kurt Cobain (who's judgement should be respected for several reasons) spoke about it in an article called Kurt Cobain of Nirvana Talks About the Records That Changed His Life and said that “it’s an epic that will never let you forget your ex-girlfriend”, which I'm sure means “it's really good”. He also said that “The main reason I like [The Breeders] is for their songs, for the way they structure them, which is totally unique, very atmospheric”. Steve Albini, the producer of the album who also produced many other AMAZING albums such as Surfer Rosa by Pixies, In Utero by Nirvana and Rid of Me by PJ Harvey, said that he thinks it ranks among his best works. And there's heaps and heaps of less interesting critical praise.
Most of the tracks on the album are classics. The opener, Glorious, manages to be beautiful. lazy and intense at the same time. Their cover of a Beatles song, Happiness Is A Warm Gun, is miles and miles better than the (amazing) original. Oh! is a song I find incredibly heartbreaking and my favourite bit in the entire album is at 1:53 when Kim manages to tearjerkingly squeal in tune. When I Was A Painter is a grungey classic. Iris jumps from sweetness to raw power and vice-versa in an incredibly effective way. The closer, Metal Man, is surreal and enchanting with the most unexpected, brief and brilliant climax ever. I only missed out the other songs for brevity's sake, they are all beautiful and rockin' too.
As noted before, the album was produced by Steve Albini and I think many fans attribute it's greatness to him. However, I don't think the production is the reason for the albums many positive attributes; it's interesting, but the main reason that the album's great is because of the people writing and playing the songs.
As I'm sure you know, The Breeders are fronted and rhythm guitared by Kim Deal, the wonderful bassist and occasional vocal provider in the Pixies. As if Kim herself isn't enough to make a brilliant underground supergroup, she was joined by Tanya Donelly, the lead guitarist of Throwing Muses. Britt Walford, the drummer, was suggested by Albini and was from the incredibly influential post-rock band Slint (their album Spiderland is defiantly worth a couple of listens, especially the song Washer). He was credited as “Shannon Doughton” and performed live in drag to keep with the all female line-up. To top it all off the bassist, Josephine Wiggs, was in loadsa bands I don't care about and got a MA in Philosophy from Sussex!