Morning Music: Codeine’s Cave-In

Frigid Stars LP - CodeineRight around the time that people were not buying American Music Club albums, they were busy not buying Codeine albums. I must admit to long having a bit a problem with the band’s name. Look: if you’re depressed, don’t call yourself codeine (a ridiculously toxic substance — far more dangerous than morphine). Be like Nick Cave and Rowland Howard and call yourself something like “The Birthday Party.” Show a little style! It’s like if “Weird Al” Yankovic had a band, it should be called “Slow Motion Suicide.”

Anyway, I think there was something about the late 1980s. American Music Club, Codeine, Red House Painters (probably do them tomorrow) — they all started in the late 1980s. I’m thinking after 8 years of Ronald Reagan and then knowing we were looking at more from George Bush… It was all just too much. I remember. I did canvasing for Michael Dukakis. What a miserable year 1988 was! Now that I think about it, Will and I had a band in 1988, but we didn’t have the talent to actually set any kind of mood. Or sing in tune. (Well, me anyway.) But we did have depressing and angry songs like “Memories of Loneliness,” “We’re Just Waiting for Letter Bombs,” and “Cock in Brain.” They all strike me as hilarious titles now, and I can perhaps be forgiven for having written the first two when I was 17.

Anyway, today we are going to listen to a song off Codeine’s first album, Frigid Stars LP, “Cave-In.” I don’t know quite what it’s about. It seems kind of like the wait for the inevitable break-up. The “cave-in” is the backing down — not allowing it to end, as it must. But I quite like these lines: “Your eyes were lit by fire; The way you tried to smile; The way you couldn’t smile.” Yep. I’ve had that girlfriend several times!

Codeine Relief

If you feel you just can’t go on, here is James Taylor singing You’ve Got a Friend. Although he was likely strung out on heroin when he recorded it. Just saying.

8 thoughts on “Morning Music: Codeine’s Cave-In

  1. I am so glad you now find them funny because I was feeling so guilty at laughing hysterically at your songs. Re-reading them still has me laughing and my pets looking at me like I am crazy.

    • Humor depends upon context. I can find the film Blue Velvet incredibly serious and creepy or I can find it outrageously funny. I will admit, “Memories of Loneliness” had the line, “Life is fleeting, like the Navy.” So even at 17 I didn’t take my angst too seriously. Although I still pretty much agree with “Cock in Brain”; it should be pretty obvious what it’s about. It sounded a bit like the theme from Bonanza too.

      • I read that while I was on a phone call with a panicking pro tem and was trying so hard to not bust out laughing since she wouldn’t have understood why I was having so much mirth.

        But even then, you had chickens on the brain. ;-)

          • Well I cannot imagine what else it could have been. Actually it is true-either you have mellowed out a lot, hide it from us unlike everything else in your life or you were never that perverse but the other ideas I could come up with for “Cock in Brain” are not something I can see you thinking.

            I have an incredibly filthy mind but not sufficient imagination to see you having the same.

            • Remember, the man identifies himself as a academic or lifelong student. And you know what they say about skilled students; they cum laude.

              Whoops! My bad! How about, instead, you know those mathematicians, they always go off on tangents. That’s much more appropriate for this site. (Although it can also be taken the wrong way, now that I think about it . . .)

            • It’s not sexual. It’s about how men let their penises rule their thinking. It was a “refrain song” so verse-verse-bridge-verse. But the first bridge was (I think):

              Mr Brown like the TV set
              The T&A, the t-shirts wet
              Dreams of a man whose life was in vain
              He’s got his cock in his brain.

              The bridge was a parody of “America the Beautiful,” and was something like:

              America, America
              Your wars are all insane
              Your people sighed
              Your children died
              Your cock inside your brain.

              There you go…

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