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Music / Morphine

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Morphine were an American alternative rock trio formed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1989, intensely loved around the Boston area. Mark Sandman, a former guitarist and vocalist with the blues rock band Treat Her Right, formed Morphine with saxophonist Dana Colley, and they were joined by alternating drummers Jerome Deupree and Billy Conway.

The band recorded four studio albums from 1992 to 1999. While never a major commercial or radio success, the band were a favorite of music critics during the '90s, and their stripped-down jazz and blues-influenced sound helped them stand out in the decade's Alternative Rock scene.

The band broke up in 1999, after Sandman suffered a fatal heart attack onstage in Italy. A fifth and final album following in 2000. Morphine called their music "low rock" due to the predominance of low-end sounds: Sandman's voice, his two-string slide bass, and Colley's baritone sax. Generally, their songs had no guitar.

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Discography:

  • Good (1992)
  • Cure for Pain (1993)
  • Yes (1995)
  • Like Swimming (1997)
  • The Night (2000)

"Anyway I'd like to see a little more trope":

  • Alliterative Title: "Super Sex", "Gone for Good".
  • Attack on the Heart: Mark Sandman was robbed and stabbed in the heart before Morphine. He obviously survived, but it's generally believed the residual damage to his heart was at least partly responsible to his tragic, untimely death by a heart attack.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Mark Sandman. Yes, that was his real name.
  • Byronic Hero: Mark Sandman was an infamously troubled character. Talented, charismatic and creative, but with a grim past, and a fiery temper, particularly when asked about his aforementioned past.
  • Bizarre Instrument: Mark was a master of making these. Nobody but Mark had thought to base an entire band on a bass guitar missing two strings, played with a pick and a guitar slide.
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  • Badass Baritone: Sandman, as part of the whole "low rock" thing.
  • "Days of the Week" Song: "Thursday", about a once-a-week tryst with a married woman.
  • Deal with the Devil: Addressed in both "Buena" and "Honey White", sounding much like a metaphor for drug use, especially on the latter.
  • Instrumentals: "Miles Davis' Funeral", "Lilah", "Lisa", "Dawna", "Sundayafternoonweightlessness", "Bo's Veranda" "I Know You (Part 1)", and "I Know You (Part 2)". All are rather short.
  • Looped Lyrics: "I'm Free Now".
  • One-Word Title: The albums Good and Yes, as well as songs like "Buena" and "Thursday".
  • Older Than They Think: Mark Sandman was in his forties during his time in Morphine, something considered somewhat radical in the predominantly under-30 Alternative Rock circuit.
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Sandman at times. If you're curious how Jim Morrison would have sounded singing with Sonic Youth, he's pretty close.
  • Mysterious Past: Mark Sandman was legendarily tight-lipped about his past, even to his own close friends and family, despite by all accounts having lived a very interesting life, spending time in several different continents.
  • Sexophone: Colley could definitely apply this trope at times.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Mark Sandman's lyrics were sometimes written in a stream-of-consciousness, beat poet-influenced style. The biggest example might be the refrain of "Super Sex":
    Automatic taxi stop electric cigarette love baby
    Hotel rock 'n' roll discotheque electric super sex

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