Morphine was my favorite band of the 90’s. Their mellow bass driven lounge rock was perfect. Their first three albums, Good, Cure for Pain and Yes are essential members of any good music library and great artillery for self-indulgent pity parties, rainy evenings at home alone or car-music for a night out cruising the back streets of Tucson looking for a party where you know what street it’s not, but not the address of the house (sorry, that was a flashback).
Like Swimming was an unfortunate smudge on the library. It’s not bad, but it’s definitely not Cure for Pain. With Mark Sandman’s untimely death of a heart attack at the age of 36 (he looked a lot older than that… played a three-string bass ages you, I guess), I figured I was left with the four albums, and I’d never hear more. But, ‘lo and behold, along came The Night, my second favorite Morphine album. It’s the slowest moving and most morose, but the songs are some of Sandman’s best. All of them are better than every song on Like Swimming, and better than half the songs on Good or Yes. It doesn’t quite stack up to Cure for Pain for sheer impact, but it’s amazing.
And to finish up, there’s B Side and Otherwise, an album you can skip unless you just want to be complete, and Bootleg Detroit, the band’s only release live album. It’s amazing. In the audio alone you can feel Sandman’s stage presence, and the band’s skill at creating a vibe in a room. The second song on the CD, Come Along sets the mood for the set perfectly and isn’t on any of their other albums. It’s almost the perfect live album. If only it were longer. I’m always left wanting more when I listen to it.
This has ended up a lot longer than I intended, but I guess you can tell I love me some Morphine. I will be eternally grateful to my friend Kris for introducing me to the band. She made me a mix tape after a rough breakup of the best depressing songs ever. She has the musical Library of Congress in her head, sorted by theme. On the tape were You Look Like Rain and Gone for Good. I wore that tape out, and eventually wore out my copy of Cure for Pain. You will too.