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Intro

Sometimes, in a genre of music, you can trace a whole bunch of famous, successful artists back to one band, whose unique style started it all. The Pixies is one of those bands. Alternative and indie rock wouldn't have been the same (or perhaps wouldn't have been at all) without them.

"Where Is My Mind?" is the most widely known of all Pixies tunes, despite the fact that it was never released as a single. The song's instant likeability makes it a standout on one of the most highly regarded, eclectic, and influential albums of modern rock history.

About the Song

ArtistThe Pixies Musician(s)Frank Black (rhythm guitar and vocals), Kim Deal (a.k.a. Mrs. John Murphy, on bass and background vocals), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), David Lovering (drums)
AlbumSurfer Rosa
Year1988
Label4AD
Writer(s)Frank Black (a.k.a. Black Francis, a.k.a. Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV)
Producer(s)Steve Albini

Shmoop Connections

Explore the ways this song connects with the world and with other topics on Shmoop
The Pixies were—and still are—a big deal. It's probably fair to say that without the Pixies, there wouldn't have been any "Smells Like Teen Spirit," given how often Kurt Cobain of Nirvana cited the Pixies as a major influence. "Where is My Mind?" is the quintessential song from a beloved band. The Pixies' sound is hard to characterize, though: it ranges from punk, to surf rock, to pop, and some things that don't even really have a name. However, even a band as original as the Pixies didn't create everything from scratch. In fact, there are quite a few things from the literary world that explore the same ideas as "Where is My Mind?".

Supposedly, songwriter Frank Black was inspired to write the song by the experience of being chased by a fish while he was scuba diving. How did something like that inspire such existential ponderings? Maybe there's an answer to that question in poet Elizabeth Bishop's "The Fish," in which an experience with one of our finned friends profoundly impresses her. We could also look to one of the most famous tales of fish, the sea, and man's mental state: Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. (If you were expecting Moby Dick here, remember that whales are mammals, silly.)

On the Charts

"Where is My Mind?" was never released as a single. Neither the song nor the album it appears on, Surfer Rosa, charted when released in 1988 in the United States.

According to thepixiesmusic.com, "Surfer Rosa was released in the UK by 4AD on March 21, 1988, entering the UK Indie Chart the following week. It spent 60 weeks in the chart, peaking at number 2."

In 2005, seventeen years after the album's original release, Surfer Rosa was certified gold.

The song also appears on 2004's Wave of Mutilation: The Best of the Pixies, which reached #161 on the Billboard Top 200 and #11 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart.

The album appears on many best-of lists, claiming a #7 position on Pitchfork's Top 100 Albums of the 1980s. "Where is My Mind?" appears in that same publication's book, The Pitchfork 500: Our Guide to the Greatest Songs from Punk to the Present. Surfer Rosa also found a place on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The song has made it onto iTunes charts in several countries. You can check out those listings here.
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