Adrian Teacher and The Subs – Pop Medicine (Stream)

by Steven Spoerl

Continuing on with the recap of the past week, it feels important to touch on some excellent songs from the likes of Gladie, Von K, Spiritual Cramp, Language, LUMPAccüDude York, William Carlos Whitten, Richard Nuclear, and Jon Hassell before getting to this post’s featured event: Adrian Teacher and The Subs’ inspired “Pop Medicine”, a career highlight for a band that’s thrived in the shadows.

Clocking in at under 100 seconds, “Pop Medicine” is one of Adrian Teacher and The Subs’ shorter songs but it seems destined to linger in listener’s memories for much, much longer. Opening with a riff that immediately brings to mind Joanna Gruesome‘s “Secret Surprise“, “Pop Medicine” goes on to reveal another distinct similarity with that song in that it might strike some as saccharine at first blush before revealing a much darker identity.

In this case, the narrative of the song — which is as bright and energetic as anything in the Adrian Teacher and The Subs’ discography — takes an absolutely heartbreaking dive into the narrator’s struggle with watching the progression of a friend’s descent into cancer before realizing that they may have to accept a tragic inevitability. Tracing the process from getting high, establishing a carefree outset, to a devastating confrontation with an incredibly painful reality in the song’s final verse, “Pop Medicine” packs an emotional gut-punch that’s enough to leave anyone reeling.

It’s the addictive sugar-rush nature of the music that makes “Pop Medicine” both bleaker and more understandable, acting as a counterweight that outlines the protagonist’s strides towards resiliency in the face of the unthinkable. A tragedy in multiple parts, “Pop Medicine”, asides from being an incredible (and highly addictive) composition, is a potent reminder that even when things are at their absolute bleakest, there is still life that surrounds us and wills us forward. Not a lot of songs can live up to a testament as lofty as that one but “Pop Medicine” does it with an empathetic smile.

Listen to “Pop Medicine” below and pick up Anxious Love here.