Song: The Drugs Don't Work
Artist: The Verve
Album: Urban Hymns
After "Bittersweet Symphony" and before "Lucky Man," the Richard Ashcroft-fronted band The Verve released this track to absolutely zero response on this side of the pond. In fact, I can't say I ever remember hearing it during The Verve's "Hey, these guys are cool and British and different" stage over here that countless British artists get at one point or another in their career.
But being the music scavenger that I am, I found their disc Urban Hymns kicking around in a bargain bin a few years later and since I was a huge fan of "Lucky Man," I thought I would pick it up and give it a listen. Bargain basement pricing is a great way to discover music. For the record, so is this segment every week, despite what David Chalk thinks of my musical tastes.
Got home, laid down on my bed, turned on the newly acquired disc, got to track four and fell in love. As we all learned with the first installment of Soundtrack, I'm a sucker for acoustic guitar and this sound has it in spades. But it was the sentiment of the song that struck me.
Votes on the type of song this is vary, but count me on the side that marks this one up as a love song and a very good one at that. It's not a love song in the traditional hearts and flowers and spewing "I Love You" forty-seven times over; but if you listen to what is being said, you know the singer is talking to a loved one:
'Cause baby, ooh, if heaven calls, I'm coming, too
Just like you said, you leave my life, I'm better off dead
For the record, the "Like a cat in a bag, waiting to drown" line is one of my all-time favourite musical analogies...
Now, skip ahead about eight years and I go to a Coldplay show in Toronto with my friend Chrissy. The first time we showed up, she screwed up the dates - we had Thursdays and turned up Wednesday night - which led to me getting "Freelance" inked on my wrist. The next night, we made it to our floor seats and settled in for the opening act... Richard Ashcroft, formerly of The Verve. He drifted into "The Drugs Don't Work" and I almost cried. For anyone who hasn't seen their favourite musicians live, you need to make a point of doing it. It's an experience that can't be put into words.
I'm also a fan of the Ben Harper cover of the song, because let's be honest, Ben Harper is one damn fine musician. It's on his Live From Mars live CD if you're wondering.
Anyway, this is the song that will play at some point in a lovelorn scene in a movie if I ever get around to writing one, because to me, it is the perfect sitting in the pub, missing your woman song...
Now the drugs don't work
They just make you worse
But I know I'll see your face again
* * * * * * * * * *
The song "Anyone Else" by The Moldy Peaches nearly made it into this spot today. Since I saw Juno Tuesday night, it has been on blast off the computer.
Totally irreverent, cute and catchy, just like Juno herself and the movie. You have to go see it and if you don't like it, we're not friends.
* * * * * * * * * *
Sorry I'm a day late - there was Guinness to be drank last night... It won't happen again.