It Is The Best Ones (freakytigger) wrote,
It Is The Best Ones

100: 90s No. 95: SPIRITUALIZED - "Medication"

This single version is a botch job. Its scatty honkings and weeping free-jazz vapour trails work as music but detract from the icily simple logic of the song: you need, you obtain, you wait to need again. You need, you obtain, you wait. The Pure Phase LP version obeys this Pavlovian structure much better, with its endless numb keyboard washes. The drive of the song, though, comes with the chorus - a desperate breakout attempt which anticipates failure in its very passivity: "I'm waiting for the time...."

I'll go so far as to say that "Medication" is the best pop song about addiction I've ever heard, with none of the cheap punk see-if-I-care nihilism of "Waiting For The Man", none of the bad rococo poetry of the interminable "Heroin" and twice their plain-spokenness. Does it matter, saying this, whether I'm a hard drug addict? No, and that's the beauty of "Medication". A lot of the songs on this list recast the drug experience as a love experience. Spiritualized go the other way, their dead simple monkeyback blues as relevant to infatuation junkies as to the Trainspotting sort, a link Jason Pierce's follow-on masterpiece was to make abundantly clear.

It's odd to remember how much I liked Spiritualized, and how quickly that liking faded. I went and saw them two nights in a row - something I've never done with another band, ever! My disillusionment was nothing to do with their weaker later records, I don't think I've even heard anything they released after 1997 straight through. In fact I'd have guessed my interest was waiting well before this, which makes it more surprising that I called Ladies & Gentlemen a "masterpiece". Listening to that record now would be pretty hard, it was one of the last few indie records I unreservedly adored every note of and I think I'd react to it with the same discomfort as I'd react to a former crush.

Speaking of which, that's what's lying behind my identification with Jason Pierce and his bleak choice of metaphor. I've had my share of infatuations and I romanticised them awfully - while acknowledging their impossibility, in fact it's obvious now that the impossibility was most of the appeal. And the music I listened to reinforced and encouraged this, like it had ever since I first heard the Smiths and their self-defeating prophecies. (I still love the Smiths, but not for that.) If you're looking for the roots of my dislike of 'indie', there is is - I associate it with emotional immaturity, mine or its.

I can't actually remember how "Medication" goes, by the way. I would prefer to hear "Waiting For The Man", though, but not "Heroin" which I still think is pretty dreadful. I remember this entry being very hard to write, too, because I don't think I even liked the song that much then.

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