22
Aug 99

95. SPIRITUALIZED – “Medication”

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Tom Ewing’s Top 100 Singles Of The 90s

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.

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