Trompe le Monde

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Trompe le Monde
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 23, 1991
Master Control, Burbank;
Pacifique, Burbank;
Studio des dames, Paris;
Blackwing Studios, London.
GenreAlternative rock
ProducerGil Norton
Pixies chronology
Trompe le Monde
Singles from Trompe le Monde
  1. "Planet of Sound"
    Released: May 28. 1991
  2. "Alec Eiffel"
    Released: 1991
  3. "Letter to Memphis"
    Released: 1991
  4. "Head On"
    Released: 1991

Trompe le Monde is the fourth studio album by the American alternative rock band Pixies, released on September 23, 1991 on 4AD in the United Kingdom and Elektra Records in the United States. After the surf-pop of Bossanova (1990), the band returned to the abrasive sound of the band's earlier releases.

Recorded in Burbank, California, Paris and London, the album was produced by Gil Norton, and was Pixies' final studio album before their subsequent break-up two years later. Trompe le Monde is the last album to feature founding bass guitarist Kim Deal.


The album name comes from the title of the first track, "Trompe le Monde", a French phrase meaning "Fool the World".[1] Unlike previous albums, the title of the album comes from the name of a song (rather than a song lyric), and is a play on the French phrase "Trompe-l'œil"—a painting technique in which the painter fools the viewer into thinking objects presented are real.

"Head On" is a cover of the Jesus and Mary Chain track that was released as a single reaching number 6 in the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks Chart.

"U-Mass" is a song about the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where Black Francis met Joey Santiago before dropping out to form Pixies. Santiago recalls that the original guitar riff was written while they were still enrolled.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Blender4/5 stars[3]
Chicago Tribune4/4 stars[4]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[5]
Los Angeles Times3.5/4 stars[6]
Q4/5 stars[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[10]
The Village VoiceA−[11]

The album was described by Michael Bonner, writing in Lime Lizard, as "one of the best albums that you may very well ever hear" and "a strong contender for best album of the 20th century".[12] AllMusic writer Heather Phares noted the reduced role of Kim Deal, calling it "essentially Black Francis' solo debut".[1]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Black Francis except "Head On", which is written by Jim Reid and William Reid of The Jesus and Mary Chain.

1."Trompe le Monde"1:48
2."Planet of Sound"2:06
3."Alec Eiffel"2:50
4."The Sad Punk"3:00
5."Head On"2:13
7."Palace of the Brine"1:34
8."Letter to Memphis"2:39
9."Bird Dream of the Olympus Mons"2:48
10."Space (I Believe In)"4:18
12."Distance Equals Rate Times Time"1:24
13."Lovely Day"2:05
14."Motorway to Roswell"4:43
15."The Navajo Know"2:20



Additional musicians

  • Eric Drew Feldman – keyboards, synthetics
  • Jef Feldman – tabla, doumbek ("Space (I Believe in)", "Lovely Day")


  • Produced by Gil Norton
  • Engineered by Steve Haigler
  • Recorded at Master Control, Burbank; Pacifique, Burbank; Studio Des Dames, Paris; Blackwing, London
  • Mixed at Master Rock, London



Album chart Peak
US Billboard 200[13] 92
UK Albums (OCC)[14] 7


Billboard (North America)
Year Single Chart Position
1991 "Letter to Memphis" Modern Rock Tracks 6
1992 "Head On" Modern Rock Tracks 6
Gallup (United Kingdom)
Year Single Chart Position
1991 "Planet of Sound" Gallup Top 75 27

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
France (SNEP)[15] Gold 77,000[16]
United Kingdom (BPI)[17] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[18] none 359,000[19]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  • While the album cover names the album Trompe le Monde, the CD disc itself spells the title incorrectly in some versions as Tromp le Monde.


  1. ^ a b c Phares, Heather. "Trompe le Monde – Pixies". AllMusic. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
  2. ^ Magnet Magazine interview
  3. ^ Dolan, Jon (December 2008 – January 2009). "Pixies: Trompe Le Monde". Blender (76): 86. Archived from the original on December 20, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  4. ^ Kot, Greg (November 7, 1991). "Pixies: Trompe Le Monde (4AD/Elektra)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  5. ^ Arnold, Gina (October 11, 1991). "Trompe Le Monde". Entertainment Weekly (87). Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  6. ^ Boehm, Mike (October 13, 1991). "Pixies Transcend the Ordinary". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  7. ^ Brown, James (September 21, 1991). "Kick Asteroid!!!" (PDF). NME: 32. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  8. ^ Powell, Mike (April 25, 2014). "Pixies: Catalog". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  9. ^ "Pixies: Trompe le Monde". Q (61). October 1991.
  10. ^ Wolk, Douglas (2004). "The Pixies". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 640–41. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 3, 1992). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  12. ^ Michael Bonner (October 1991). "The Pixies Trompe Le Monde". Lime Lizard: 50.
  13. ^ "Pixies Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  14. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  15. ^ "French album certifications – Pixies – trompe Le Monde" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  16. ^ "Les Albums Or". SNEP. Archived from the original on 2011-10-18. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  17. ^ "British album certifications – Pixies – Bossanova". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Bossanova in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  18. ^ "American album certifications – Pixies – Bossanova". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  19. ^

External links[edit]