Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bobby's song #6: "I'm Free Now" by Morphine

The first thing that sticks out to those unfamiliar with the band Morphine is their odd make up: a crooning singer that plays a 2-string bass, a sax player, and a drummer. No guitars. Making rock music. Surprisingly, this unusual setup does not come off as a gimmick or an oddball novelty. In fact, once you immerse yourself in Morphine's music you discover that you never feel like anything is missing in the music. On the contrary, the lack of guitars opens the music up for a much richer coloration by the sax and allows the listener to focus on singer Mark Sandman's superb lyrics.

His lyrics were generally cynical, self-deprecating, and melancholy. They tended to deal with dark issues such as addiction, romantic betrayal, and low self-esteem. Despite this the music would often be somewhat upbeat which helped to cushion the blow of his words.

Morphine was formed in 1989 and released 4 albums in the 90s before disbanding in 1999 due to Mark Sandman's sudden death. He had a heart attack while performing on stage. (At least he died while doing something he loved.) A 5th album, The Night, was released posthumously in 2000.

Of all their albums, I love Cure For Pain (1993) the best. It was extremely difficult for me to pick one song from this album for a write-up. The whole album is 5-star gold from start to finish. In the end, I settled on "I'm Free Now" because that was the first Morphine song that I listened to on repeat when I first began listening to them. As noted in my previous entries, lyrics play a large part in how much I love a song. That being said, it certainly doesn't showcase the full range of the Morphine sound -- no one song could.

If you aren't familiar with Morphine and this song makes you want to hear more, it's not too difficult to find a number of other songs to check out. Even more interesting is listening to them live to see how they pull off their polished, overdubbed studio sound.

I'm Free Now by Morphine

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