Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Track of the Week: Frankie Teardrop by Suicide

This week's track features the most frightening song ever recorded, by far. Of course, when your band's name is Suicide, you would imagine the songs would be scary. One of the most influential bands of the 1970s, Suicide's first record provided a sense of where music could go.

"Frankie Teardrop" is a swirling mass of drum machine, synthesizer, sound effects and powerful vocals. It tells the story of a factory worker, a normal everyday man, driven insane by his circumstances, who murders his wife and child before finally taking his own life and seemingly descending into hell. Vocalist Alan Vega screams in such a way that makes you jump in its unexpectedness and your blood curl in its passionate, insane primitiveness. Everything builds up, from sparse drums and slow-moving lyrics, to the major scream as Frankie murders everyone and himself after realizing he can not provide for them no matter how hard he works.

The most interesting thing about the song is his decent into hell. You can hear it happening rather than being told through lyrics. Sound effects paint the landscape of the new scene. It is difficult to make out what all the sounds are, but you know just where you are. And Frankie screams more.

You can feel trapped listening to this song. Everything about it makes you feel his stress and sadness and pain. I do not think any movie or book has done as effective a job as "Frankie Teardrop" does. So there you have it. Happy Halloween.

Frankie teardrop
Twenty year old Frankie
He's married he's got a kid
And he's working in a factory

He's working from seven to five
He's just trying to survive
Well lets hear it for Frankie
Frankie, Frankie

Well Frankie can't make it
'Cause things are just too hard
Frankie can't make enough money
Frankie can't buy enough food

And Frankie's getting evicted
Oh let's hear it for Frankie
Oh Frankie, Frankie
Oh Frankie, Frankie

Frankie is so desperate
He's gonna kill his wife and kid
Frankie's gonna kill his kid
Frankie picked up a gun

Pointed at the six month old in the crib
Oh Frankie
Frankie looked at his wife

Shot her
"Oh what have I done?"
Let's hear it for Frankie

Frankie Teardrop
Frankie put the gun to his head
Frankie's dead

Frankie's lying in hell

We're all Frankies
We're all lying in hell

Frankie Teardrop by Suicide

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