Saturday, 6 December 2014


Ugh.  It's been quiet round here for a while, but I'm finding inspiration hard to locate amongst the fog of my cold-riddled brain.  So let's turn lemons into lemonade, with some of my favourite songs about illness.  None of that metaphor crap, either; the fevers and sicknesses here have nothing to do with love or depravity.  Just feeling awful in response to invading microbes or dick moves by your own body.

Crowded House - "Pineapple Head"

A shout out to long-term posse member (Who's) Jamie, who made me listen to Crowded House repeatedly during the nine weeks we were trapped in a room together at university.  This gets pride of place here because it's the only song I can think of which is actually about the mechanics of illness rather than the emotional fall-out; Finn apparently wrote it by listening to his feverish son and writing down his delirious ravings.  Not a cool move, perhaps, but an interesting song.

Ryan Adams - "Starting To Hurt"

Like I said, mostly songs about illness involve the emotional cost, which is entirely fair enough, but it does make it hard to find songs that aren't mired in the songwriter's self-pity about how someone else's illness is going to effect them. This song, written by Adams about the cancer that ultimately killed his friend Carrie Hamilton, manages to keep the focus entirely on the patient, concerning itself here about how much harder it is to live with a terminal prognosis before the symptoms start to make themselves known.  It's a sad song, but a well-muscled one too; U2 with better guitars and a sense of perspective.

James - "Dr Hellier"

OK, so this one is starting to move off the point a bit.  But if you're going to have a song about your illness, I think it's completely reasonable to imagine you're going to fight the gribbly bastard by shrinking yourself and going all Fantastic Voyage on its microscopic arse. Plus the contrast between the verse and chorus here is great, not so much quiet/loud as precisely measured/violently ugly. This is a bit harder to detect in the live version, but in the studio cut is really does sound like Booth is taking a hedge trimmer to his larynx.

Ben Folds Five - "Cigarette"

Depressing as hell snapshot of a man whose wife is on medication so strong she's liable to set the house on fire trying to light a tab. Which sounds awful, obviously.  If nothing else, this post is underlining how minuscule a bother my cold is in the great scheme of things, even if they do lead to chest infections rather more often than can be considered ideal.

The Darkness - "Growing On Me"

Because obviously.

Anyway, that's what I came up with. Any other suggestions? Leave 'em in comments.


darkman said...

Needles by System of a Down:

One Life by Last Emperor and Too Poetic:
Burn Baby Burn by Gravediggaz:
Drips by Eminem and Obie Trice:

SpaceSquid said...

Love that Gravediggaz platter, d-man. There's not many artists who would dare lay down a track to backing by Cylon pigeons.