St. Nazaire

Album: Beneath The Eyrie (2019)

Songfacts®:

  • This song is titled after a French seaport south of Brittany that was used as a World War II submarine base by the Germans.

    "St. Nazaire" was initially inspired by an Allied attack on the base. As the song progressed during the recording process for the album, the imagery changed from "Nazi Ghosts and Submarines" to a "selkie bride."

    I washed out with the greasy tide
    I went down on the Selkie bride


    In Scottish mythology, a selkie can come on land and change from a seal to human form by shedding its skin. Part of the legend is that if someone was to acquire their seal-skin, the Selkie will be forced into a marriage with that person. Black Francis (Frank Black) of the Pixies explained to The Sun:

    "I needed an expression for the female in that song. She's rough round the edges. Two characters are drinking, f---ing and living above a bar in the rusty, lonely town of Saint-Nazaire, a place I love."
  • Black Francis unleashes a full cathartic holler during the song. He explained: "Whenever a producer or manager has suggested, 'How about a screamer?' I've always found them to fall a little flat. But that song definitely just took me there, although I still haven't quite muscled it into the right spot."

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