Gigantic (song)

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"Gigantic"
Gigantic single.jpg
Single by Pixies
from the album Surfer Rosa
A-side "Gigantic" (New Version)
B-side
  • "River Euphrates" (New Version)
  • "Vamos" (Live)
  • "In Heaven (The Lady in the Radiator Song)" (Live)
Released August 22, 1988 (1988-08-22)
Format Vinyl record (12"), Compact Disc
Recorded December 1987
Q Division
Somerville, Massachusetts
Genre Alternative rock
Length 3:45 (album version)
3:13 (single version)
Label 4AD
Songwriter(s) Kim Deal, Black Francis
Producer(s) Steve Albini (Album), Gil Norton (Single)
Pixies singles chronology
"Gigantic"
(1988)
"Monkey Gone to Heaven"
(1989)

"Gigantic" is a song by the American alternative rock band the Pixies, co-written by bassist Kim Deal and lead vocalist/guitarist Black Francis. The song appeared on the band's first studio album, Surfer Rosa, released in 1988. One of the longest songs on the album, "Gigantic" was released as the band's first single later that year.

Featuring Deal on lead vocals, the song is one of Pixies' biggest hits and a crowd favorite at concerts, often played as the encore.[1] The melody line comes from Deal's simple but effective bass playing—the same bassline is repeated throughout the song.

"Gigantic" never achieved a ranking on any major charts and was their only release from Surfer Rosa. However, it was a fairly successful first hit for Pixies and maintains radio play to this day. The single version of the song appeared on Pixies' 2004 best-of compilation, Wave of Mutilation: Best of Pixies.

Lyrics and melody[edit]

According to Deal, the main inspiration for the song was the film Crimes of the Heart, in which a white married woman falls in love with a black teenager[2] and the song "Gigantic" is credited to Mrs John Murphy (Kim Deal's pseudonym at the time of Come On Pilgrim and Surfer Rosa as an ironic feminist joke).

The song's voyeuristic lyrics mostly revolve around a woman's observation of an attractive black man making love to another woman, culminating in the oddly light-hearted but sexual chorus: "Gigantic, gigantic, gigantic / A big, big love". Francis later commented on the title of the song and the chorus (in the music magazine SELECT), saying:[2]

"A good chord progression, very Lou Reed influenced. I'd had the word 'gigantic' in my mind just because the chord progression seemed very big to me."

The melody, particularly at the beginning, differs between the album and EP version.

Single[edit]

4AD label executive Ivo Watts-Russell didn't believe there was a track on Surfer Rosa that would get much radio play, so he approached producer Gil Norton to re-record "Gigantic" and "River Euphrates" with the intention of releasing them as the band's first single. It would be the first time Norton would record with the Pixies, and the circumstances made him a bit nervous because he was a fan of the band and Steve Albini's work. [3] Most of the changes he made would be in the way the recordings were mixed while minor alterations were made in "Gigantic"'s arrangement. The single was released in the United Kingdom on 4AD as a 12-inch Vinyl Record and on CD. The CD version was re-issued in 1999. (No version of this single was ever released in the United States.) The single would also include a live version of "Vamos" (a song that also appeared on mini-LP, Come On Pilgrim and their first LP Surfer Rosa) and a live cover of the song "In Heaven (The Lady in The Radiator Song)" from the David Lynch movie Eraserhead, both recorded at the Town and Country Club in London, England. [4]

Based on the results of this re-recording, Gil Norton would be asked to produce the next album, Doolittle. The back cover of the 12 inch features a large leather glove.

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Gigantic" (New Version)Black Francis and Kim Deal3:12
2."River Euphrates" (New Version)Black Francis3:23
3."Vamos" (Live)Black Francis3:28
4."In Heaven (The Lady in the Radiator Song)" (Live)Peter Ivers and David Lynch1:46

Cover versions[edit]

Deal performed the song with The Breeders in 2017.[5]

In 1990, the Australian alternative rock band Tlot Tlot wrote a song called "Sunny Delirious" that sampled the intro of "Gigantic". In 1992, their debut album Pistolbuttsa'twinkle included the song, while their final single, "The Girlfriend Song", included an uptempo punk version of the song recorded live as a B-side.

The California ska punk band Reel Big Fish produced a cover of "Gigantic" for 1999's Where Is My Mind?: A Tribute to the Pixies. Reel Big Fish chose to break away from their traditional sound for this cover, producing a very poppy, highly produced dance track sounding nothing like the original song. Other bands such as Belle & Sebastian, The Frames, Pavement, Gemma Hayes, The Katies, and The Hippos have also covered the song.[2]

The song was parodied by Self on the album Feels Like Breakin' Shit with a track titled "Titanic". The chorus mimics "Gigantic" with "Titanic, Titanic, Titanic / A big, big boat".[6]

In 2007, OK Go covered the song for album Dig for Fire: A Tribute to Pixies.

In November 2009, Brighton-based indie band The Miserable Rich covered the song on their Covers EP, alongside three other eighties covers.[7]

Swell Season vocalist Glen Hansard covered "Gigantic" live for the deluxe digital edition of their 2009 album Strict Joy.[8]

Alternative rock band Surfer Blood performed a version of the song in June 2011 for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover series.[9]

In April 2014, a cover of the song by Phoebe Bridgers, using many various iPhone and iPod performance and recording apps, was the subject of a widely broadcast advertisement by Apple Inc..[10][11]

In October 2014, the shoegaze/punk band Pity Sex covered the song as their second track on a split they are to release with the band Adventures on Run For Cover Records.[12]

External links[edit]

References[edit]