The technique that makes the harmony vocals so arresting on "Here Comes Your Man" is retrograde motion- on the word 'long', the two voices go opposite directions, one going higher in pitch, and the other lower. Normally harmonies tend toward parallel motion, but on Here Comes Your Man retrograde motion is used in two different ways- first with the voices separating in pitch from a common first note, and finally with the voices starting separated and merging in pitch on a single note.

This is perhaps not the best known Pixies song, and even on the album Doolittle, it is probably not as well known as Monkey Gone to Heaven, or Wave of Mutilation. After years of listening to the Pixies, this song struck me as perhaps the most condensed example of Pixie songwriting, as well as currently being my favorite song.

Outside there's a boxcar waiting
Outside the family store
Out by the fire breathing
Outside we wait til face turns blue
I know the nervous walking
I know the dirty beard hangs
Out by the boxcar waiting
Take me away to nowhere plains

(Chorus) You never wait so long,
you never wait so long
Here comes your man
Here comes your man

Big shake on the boxcar moving
Big shake to the land that's falling down
Is it the wind makes the palms start blowing
A great big stone comes and breaks my crown

Chorus 2X

We could look at this song as three portions: the narrative, the imagery and the meaning. The images are extremly vividly and specifically illustrated. The first four lines all begin with the same word, reiterating the fact that this is all taking place "outside". After this, there are two lines, beginning with "I", inserting the narrator and thus creative a narrative. The story then pauses for the chorus, and returns with a sudden plot twist, such as it were. The narrator is now riding the boxcar through a windstorm, and gets hit on the head, to what effect we do not know. The song then ends by repeating the rather plaintive chorus twice.

We can look at the structure of imagery, narrative and meaning various ways. It could be that the imagery and narrative both give the meaning, or that we have to look inside the imagery to discover the narrative, which then gives us hint on the meaning. Although the narrative has a clear meaning in my mind, it would seem that objectivly their would be many ways to reconstitute the narrative out of the imagery, which makes the search for meaning even harder. Another factor is the music, which despite the lyrical imagery of decay and disaster is happy and upbeat, being well suited for a junior high romance song. It is also interesting to notice that the first verse, as well as the first half of the second verse, deal with slow decay, gradual injury (through cold), while the song's climax brungs a sudden, dramatic disaster. The music here, rather then sounding morbid, seems to release itself as the narrator is relased from consciousness by having a stone dropped on his head.

There are lots of questions about the narrative: Where are the people waiting? What are they waiting for? Who is the man they are waiting for? What is the family store? Where are the "nowhere plains"? Why is there a windstorm? I have heard various theories about what this song "means", but I think that anyone who hears the startling imagery and moving, if mysterious narrative, will be able to know what it means, even if it means nothing at all.

I judge by what she's wearing
Just how many heads I'm tearing
Off of assholes coming on to her...

It seems to get worse every night. Tonight there are three; one at a table next to the stage and two by the bar. She's waiting on the one by the stage, working her hips for a good tip. The anger swells inside me like a hurricane over the Gulf. It's only a matter of time before the blinding white rage takes over. She looks to him, then to me, and smiles. I throw back another whiskey shot and try to relax. My PO probably wouldn't agree with what I'm planning.

They think they'll get inside her
With every drink they buy her
As they all try coming on to her...

I walk through the swinging doors to the kitchen. The chef is sitting in front of the range watching TV. Some kid is washing dishes in the back corner. I walk to the hanging knives and take a minute to decide. Meat cleaver, perhaps? Maybe a jagged? I finally decide on a nice long straight edge with some decent weight. Perfect for the type of precise work I'm planning. I tuck it into my belt line and walk back out to the bar.

Each time she bats an eyelash
Somebody's grabbing her ass
Everyone keeps coming on to her...

It's only a matter of time before one of these three chumps has had enough liquid bravery to approach her. Now it's simply a waiting game. Like watching a fish swim towards your bait, the excitement builds. Do it, chump. Just go ahead and do it. He's gawking at her ass like a 6th grader in the Playboy Mansion. She can do nothing but smile back. His faggoty friends are egging him on, placing bets and discussing pick up lines. Tools, the lot of 'em. The moment's coming. She drops her pen and bends over to pick it up. This is it. There's no way he can resist. He winds up and smacks her ass with a drunken hoot. Game over.

This time somebody's getting hurt

I hardly notice my right hand slam the empty shot glass to the bar. I walk over, jaw clenched, fists closed, arms tensed. I plan on savoring this one. Coming from behind, I grab the collar of his stupid pink button-up and toss him out of his chair like a pissed garbageman taking out the trash. People glance over from their tables, but no one seems to be too interested. His friends get up to help him, but the knife is out in a second. I wave it casually at them.

"You kids should probably sit back down." I turn to the faggot on the floor. "As for you, you're coming with me."

Behind the dumpster, she watches as I work, laughing at the sound of him choking on his own dismembered penis as I slowly remove his pointlessly flailing limbs. She might be enjoying this more than I am. The finality of the gurgling sound of blood gushing from his throat is all too satisfying.

"You ready to go, babe?"
"Yeah, just give me a second." She reaches into the dying fag's jeans and pulls out his wallet. She pockets a 20, kisses him on the cheek and whispers, "Thanks for the tip bub." The red print of her lipstick lingers on his dead face long after we've left.

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