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“Methadone” by Small Town Sci-Fi: Honest, Unvarnished Songwriting

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If you happen to have any spare time, I’d recommend checking out “Methadone.”

For legal purposes, I’ll add a disclaimer to this review: not the drug. Don’t do that.

To be more specific, I’m talking about the song “Methadone” by Small Town Sci-Fi. The song serves as the opener off the artist’s first EP, Psycho, which was released this May. I’m sure that when you clicked on this review and opened this page, you intended to read about some independent music and not an endorsement of substance misuse. But I digress.

“I’m on methadone in the summertime // cocaine and pills in the wintertime”

“Methadone” tells a story about a man’s relationship with substances. He’s using a number of drugs, which he hides somewhere most people won’t look. It’s a pretty somber track, powered by slow acoustic guitar and (appropriate) mildly slurred vocals. And based on the cyclical nature of his usage, you can tell he’s been struggling with this for a while.

“We’ll take our life one night at a time”

This song is honest and raw, which contributes to its melancholy nature. It feels like the singer is  pouring his heart out, trying to do anything to get this person, whomever he’s singing to, to be in his life. This line is pretty ambiguous in itself, as it very well could read “lives,” but it comes off as “life” to the ear. It makes you wonder if he can live his life through this other person, who is presumably sober, or even if he’ll still be using while with this person. Maybe it’s intentional, maybe not. Either way, it makes you think.

Despite this, his voice sounds strangely unapologetic. You can hear it in the song’s chorus, with little inflection or remorse in his voice. It doesn’t feel wholly apathetic, though; I felt a sense of longing in the pre chorus, when the singer attempts to persuade his potential companion, but it reverts back to this unapologetic feeling when returning to his discussion of his drug use. There’s a pretty sad duality present; you want the best for him but you also wonder if it’s possible for him to have everything he wants. That’s where this song succeeds; he knows it’s hard to stop, and so do you, but maybe it’s too late. So, you feel remorseful and not remorseful at the exact same time.

“Methadone” doesn’t pull at your heart strings too much. If it did, it would diminish any sense of reality present in its lyricism. In the end, the thing that makes this song hard to listen to is knowing that you have to accept the harsh truth. It’s never been easy; that’s why we eat up happy endings. Small-Town Sci-Fi manages to capture this feeling really well; you don’t know for sure whether there’s gonna be a happy ending, but you’re already halfway through the movie, so you stick it out, unaware of what holds in the future.

So while this song is sad and harsh, it’s only one chapter of a bigger story. That’s what this blog is all about, right? Sharing meaningful stories? “Methadone” by Small Town Sci-Fi captures this particular moment in a meaningful, deep story real well.

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