It’s almost 2 a.m., you’re at the end of your shift, and you want to send a gentle message to the remaining bar patrons: go the fuck home. Sure, you want to end the night on a high, but also clearly communicate that these drunk assholes need to clear out for closing time. Get this handy playlist ready to take an inebriated crowd through a tour of Pixies songs. This includes choice classic cuts and personal favorites, but also a few tunes guaranteed to clear out the straggling few that don’t get the hint. Let’s get this music cranking so you can get home, microwave a Marie Callender’s frozen dinner, and watch old Simpsons episodes. (Listen to the playlist as you go)
Start with your personal favorite, the song that put you on the road to loving this band from Boston. That fucking Kim Deal bass line. Not everyone shares your appreciation. Some asshole yells, “The fuck is this?” as soon as you switch over from whatever shitty power-country he dished out a buck for on the digital jukebox. It’s the Pixies, asshole. Debut album, made in ten days for ten grand. This is a great tune for gathering up the wet singles at the edge of the bar while patrons make out or scream stories at each other.
Of course people begin giving out bedroom eyes on the horniest Pixies song. One friendly stranger who just threw up in the bathroom talks up a sober newbie walking in. Amazing what a mint can do. Later, you find them dry-humping behind the coat rack. Who can blame them? “Hey” is one of those songs that gets people feeling a certain way. But seriously, don’t they have an apartment they could go to somewhere in this city?
A track from their third album, ‘Bossanova,’ informed by Frank Black’s pop sensibilities. Heads begin bopping, toes tap against the bar. When patrons dig the music, it’s a better vibe. Remember that dayshift bartender who used to play NPR? Nobody wants to do shots to ‘All Things Considered’ and ‘Planet Money.’ Horrible bar background ambiance choice. This spacey surf rock echoing in the bar makes it easier to throw cold french fries away from stray baskets.
Take it all the way back to their debut EP. What an incredible thrumming drive through this 1987 track. You try to talk to a few regulars about how much Pixies mean to you, but there is a lost phone, and you know what that means: people are about to get really fucking annoying. Do an obligatory check of the lost and found box, which only has a filthy hoodie and a copy of “Infinite Jest” some pretentious asshole left here 4 months ago.
“Last call!” That’s right assholes, it’s the B-sides now. Damn it, just as you called it for the last round of drinks, an entire group of finance bros walked in talking over each other, eyes and nostrils flared from a night of party powder. Great, there’s a whole bachelorette party behind them as well. You’d be stupid to pass up the tips. Time to make 70 drinks in five minutes.
You use the sudden influx of newbies to throw on the new Pixies tune. Hell, you’ll listen to anything they put out. The driving beat keeps you pouring and elaborately mixing drinks in a performative fashion that you hope attracts tips. Raise those arms extra high while unnecessarily shaking. Did someone just make a request to change the song? Fuck off, it’s a Pixies night.
This track describes how you have to face the closing shift at this shitty dive bar: directly head-on. Part party anthem, part blind acceptance of this miserable reality, this one will get feet moving – hopefully towards the exit. It’s almost 2 in the morning. Don’t they know you also have to clean up?
Play it fucking loud, aggressively loud. Finish these drinks, close out your orders. You become an octopus at the center of the bar: swiping cards, handing pens, and clearing half-empty glasses. Where is Gus your barback? Totally useless, always on break, probably asking regulars out front if they have a spare smoke. When drummer David Lovering drops in, you up the ante and pull Gus back inside to maneuver the dishwasher like this was a battleship.
“Break My Body”
At this point, the basic bros around you are all requesting “Where Is My Mind?” but instead you throw on a tune that best describes your current state. Your calves are aching. There’s a layer of vodka-french-fry sweat covering your skin. You’ve seen forty-two first dates tonight, all of them awful. Your body and spirit are truly broken.
“What Goes Boom”
Even with the CLOSED sign on full display, there are still people banging on the front glass, windows shaking in their cheap metal frame. One of these nights, those late-evening visitors begging for a drink are going to break the glass. You warn the owner, but he barely cares about this place, one of five bars he somehow has in this city alone. When you mouth “We’re closed,” one of them flips you off, another spits on the window. What a great city.
Create a moment of calm before everyone is thrown out on their ass. Almost all the tabs are closed. You’ve turned off the stream of music videos on TV. Hell, a few of the lights are turned on, the sobering lightbulb glare. Revealed are the grossest couples you’ve ever seen, sloppily kissing and slow dancing, seemingly stuck together by sweat, sugary alcohol mixes, and spilled appetizers.
“Monkey’s Gone To Heaven”
The lights are officially on. You have the front door propped open. The smarter crowd understands the hint, but suddenly another finance bro slams $20 against the bar, asking for a round of shots. Also, he wants you to change the music. Unfortunately for him, his father doesn’t own this bar. He has no power here. Try not to enjoy it too much when you tell him, “We’re closed.” Bask in these two minutes of glory, knowing he will completely forget about you within the hour.
“Might as Well Be Gone”
You play this as a hint for the few left trying to use the restroom, to the smokers outside, and to any chatty holdovers as the clock hits 2:01 a.m. The band’s first album with current bassist Paz Lenchantin has this subtle hint threaded in: fucking go home. Your broom hits at designer shoes and haute couture jeans, way too stylish for this bar.
“Something Against You”
Yeah, you’ve got something against them. They won’t fucking leave! Play this song unwelcomingly loud to make your message clear. Now you have people standing around out front on the pavement, smoking cigarettes you’ll have to sweep up later. Don’t they live somewhere? Did that dude just grab a Yuengling from across the street? Are they playing quarters outside? Is that a bonfire? What is going on?
“Here Comes Your Man”
Ubers are arriving. Crowds begin to thin. Thank God. You can throw on one of your favorite Pixies tracks as you wet down the floor to mop up. Of course some dude comes out of the bathroom and almost slips, just as you begin to enjoy yourself for half a second. Lawsuit diverted, good thing because you could only pay your lawyer in Pixies vinyl.
“On Graveyard Hill”
Truth be told: you’re actually a morning person. You hate this cemetery shift. The worst part about the job is how much you sleep in, never able to enjoy a coffee or scone or early morning walk. Nope, just stuck here at 2:10am watching two dudes puke in the back courtyard. Who did they even come in with? You use this as a chance to listen to new releases from The Pixies and consider your life choices. How does one become a National Park Ranger? Nah, that seems like a lot of work.
“I’ve Been Tired”
You’re more than tired, you are crumbling away. This is an unwelcoming tune to blast at anyone still hiding in the booths at the back of the bar. Where the hell is that barback Gus? Where do all of these extra pint glasses keep coming from? You nearly fall asleep standing up while looking for the key to the storage closet, just so you can grab the “good” rags.
That’s right, “vamos.” Let’s go. Blasting this will tell anyone left to get the fuck out. Also, they’ll get to marvel at guitarist Joey Santiago’s amazing work here. “Your bar closes too early. Your bar sucks,” a straggler from the bachelorette party says, looking for her Juul and eyeing you suspiciously. You say nothing, watching Gus the barback inhale from a Juul he found on one of the tables.
“Who’s More Sorry Now?”
Suddenly, in the empty bar, with the fridge humming and ceiling fans lazily swirling around the dirty air, you feel an odd loneliness. All these chattery people gone, now the haunted feeling of stacked chairs in an empty space. As your mind wanders, a slamming door scares the hell out of you. The most haggard dude you’ve ever seen shuffles out of the bathroom. Did he fall asleep in there? It smells like death itself. You desperately want to go home.
The metal security gate rattles as you guide it towards the ground. Another night done. And you are absolutely dead. You fall asleep on the train ride home and wake up on the complete other side of town, realizing you’ve accidentally been riding the rails for hours while sleeping. Oh well, might as well just continue napping against this pole. Your next shift is in five hours anyway.