Black Francis Is a Humble Guy with Healthy DesireS

Black Francis' new record is called NonStopErotik, is about "sucking at the only thing that matters," and features a song called "When I Go Down On You." We are apprehensive.

Black Francis can make bad records, but he can do no wrong—he's a troubadour, a lifer, an itinerant craftsman recordist who writes songs and commits them to tape/hard drive because that's what he does for a living. Some are wonderful, some are awful, but all of them are the point, and his diffident onward-and-upward attitude toward music-making is a gift irrespective of whether the output soars or just muddles through till the next release.

That said, the brief thematic gloss on NonStopErotik that he gave to Pitchfork gives us worry:

When I was a boy the plant we boys called a fern was code for vagina, and to this day I love fern plants. In my heart the vagina is almost everything, and almost everything else could be summed up in what cock and seed have to offer; and everything else? The love of the father, dead or alive, the pain of too much pleasure, till death do us part, the voice of another song man from the other side, with or without God, Teri and the Possibilities, where ever you may be, the smell of sex in the air, seduced, slain, on my knees in prayer, sucking at the only thing that matters, my own personal Meret Oppenheim, I am Man Ray and I want you and to be all the way inside you, the cameras whirring as we put some elbow grease into the scene, the audience watching us in the dark.

OK, sure, Black Francis is Man Ray. But he wants to be all the way inside us? With cameras? Francis' songs have forever been shot through with freakish and urgent sexual undercurrents, with tattooed tits and incestuous dreams and whores with disease and "Oh kiss me cunt, oh kiss me cock" popping up out of nowhere and taking their places next to Martian mountains and devils and environmental catastrophes. But the charm and power has always been in the confused, unpredictable weirdness of his unhinged mind. When the undercurrents become overcurrents, and the rhyming dictionary gets pulled out to see what goes with "labia"—well, we worry is all.

On the other hand, there's a cover of "Wheels," which sounds like fun.