Trompe le Monde

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Trompe le Monde
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 23, 1991
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[1] on 4AD in the United Kingdom and on September 24, 1991 on Elektra Records in the United States. 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.


"Head On" is a cover of the Jesus and Mary Chain track. It was released as a single and reached number 6 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart in the U.S.

"U-Mass" is a song about the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where Black Francis met Joey Santiago before dropping out to form Pixies. In a 2001 interview, Santiago recalled that the original guitar riff was written while they were still enrolled at the school.[2]

Artwork and packaging[edit]

The album name comes from the title of the first track, "Trompe le Monde", a French phrase (pronounced [tʁɔ̃p lə mɔ̃d]) meaning "Fool the World".[3] 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. On some versions of the CD, the title is erroneously printed as Tromp le Monde on the disc itself.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Chicago Tribune[4]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[5]
Los Angeles Times[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[10]
The Village VoiceA−[11]

Michael Bonner of Lime Lizard described Trompe le Monde 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]

In a retrospective review, AllMusic writer Heather Phares noted the reduced role of Kim Deal, calling it "essentially Black Francis' solo debut".[3] Tom Ewing of Freaky Trigger named Trompe le Monde his ninth favorite album of the 1990s, describing it as "clean-lined sci-fi popmetal, perpetually underrated."[13]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Black Francis, except where noted.

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"Jim Reid, William Reid2:13
6."U-Mass" 3:01
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
11."Subbacultcha" 2:09
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


Chart (1991) Peak
Australia (ARIA Charts)[14] 61
New Zealand (RIANZ) 20
US Billboard 200[15] 92
UK Albums (OCC)[16] 7

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP)[17] Gold 100,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[18] Silver 60,000^
United States 359,000[19]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.



Additional musicians


  • Gil Norton – producer
  • Steven Haigler – engineer
  • Andrew Ballard – assistant engineer
  • John McDonnell – assistant engineer
  • Ken Gardner – assistant engineer
  • Scott Blockland – assistant engineer
  • Philipe Tousche – assistant engineer
  • Vaughan Oliver / v23 – art direction, design
  • Chris Bigg – design assistance
  • Paul McMenamin – design assistance
  • Simon Larbalestier – photography
  • Steven Appleby – artwork (rockets)
  • TPP Ltd. London – typesetting


  1. ^ a b Dolan, Jon (December 2008 – January 2009). "Pixies: Trompe Le Monde". Blender. No. 76. Archived from the original on December 20, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  2. ^ Magnet Magazine interview
  3. ^ a b c Phares, Heather. "Trompe le Monde – Pixies". AllMusic. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
  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. No. 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. p. 32. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  8. ^ Powell, Mike (April 25, 2014). "Pixies: Catalog". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  9. ^ Cooper, Mark (October 1991). "Pixies: Trompe le Monde". Q. No. 61.
  10. ^ Wolk, Douglas (2004). "The Pixies". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 639–640. 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. ^ Ewing, Tom (1999). "10 Years, 100 Albums, 1000 Words". Freaky Trigger. Archived from the original on April 16, 2000. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  14. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (pdf ed.). Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  15. ^ "Pixies Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  16. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  17. ^ "French album certifications – The Pixies – trompe Le Monde" (in French). InfoDisc. Select THE PIXIES and click OK. 
  18. ^ "British album certifications – Pixies – Trompe le Monde". British Phonographic Industry.
  19. ^ "The Record: Unfinished Business". Capital Public Radio. 3 February 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2019.

External links[edit]