We recently took a look back at our favorite songs from 2001 and realized, to our utmost horror, that Alkaline Trio‘s From Here To Infirmary celebrates its 20th birthday April 3. They grow up so fast…
That said, the devastating cliché of watching two decades go by in the blink of an eye still doesn’t hold a candle to the heart wreck that the record imposed on us. Though delivered with markedly upbeat pop-punk energy, many of the album’s lines have been gnawing at us ever since the first time we heard them.
Here are 10 lyrics from songs on From Here To Infirmary that still hit hard today.
Lyric: “When was it that you sold your life or wasted/Every bite of that small slice you never tasted?”
You probably didn’t expect to get a little misty-eyed listening to a song called “Mr. Chainsaw.” Alas, here we are 20 years later and still drawing acute anxiety from the lyrics. There are a number of lines throughout the anthem that will hit you right in the chest, but the idea of looking back at one’s life with such regret is downright nauseating.
“Take Lots With Alcohol”
Lyric: “’Cause I don’t feel sick, no I don’t feel sick/But the pains in my head have almost put me underground”
Alkaline Trio certainly have a propensity for vivid narratives, and From Here To Infirmary puts forth some of the best. The majority of the lyrics in “Take Lots With Alcohol” are addressed to a doctor, begging for medicine so as not to “see through [one’s] own eyes anymore.” It’s devastating all around—especially for those who have suffered the throes of mental illness. These lines in the first verse really puts the whole song into perspective, though. No matter how many times you listen to it, it’s sure to send shivers down your spine.
Lyric: “I replaced you with fear and shame/You’ll be happy on the day I die”
“Stupid Kid” is, by all standards, a pop-punk jam. So, you really have to listen closely to the lyrics to get a full sense of their gravity. The song’s a pretty dark, retrospective look at what sounds to be a former romance. Yet, it’s not totally clear whether or not the mentioned love was reciprocated. Anyone who’s gone through a painful breakup will probably relate to the majority of the lyrics, but the one we’ve isolated… Yikes. That’s a punch to the gut.
“Another Innocent Girl”
Lyric: “He likes to pretend that he’s all sewn up/It makes for a much stronger case/But there is blood underneath that skin/That scar is not so easy to erase”
“Another Innocent Girl” leaves some significant room for debate. For one, the specific narrative behind the song is a bit murky. There’s also a line spoken during the intro, presumably by Matt Skiba, that fans can’t seem to agree on. One thing that’s inarguable, though, is that the imagery of being sewn up with blood underneath is hard-hitting as hell. Everybody, to some extent, knows what it’s like to pretend that they’re fine when they’re not, and these lyrics capture the feeling perfectly.
Lyric: “Trying to forget how you’ve been touched/I loved you, so I told you/But it didn’t matter much”
It’s not even necessary to have gone through the generalized experience described in “Steamer Trunk” for these lines to hit you hard. You can look at it from a number of perspectives—the most obvious being a short-fallen attempt to help someone through their mental baggage—and it’s going to make your heart ache regardless. There’s just something about such a simple melody putting forth such a heavy sentiment that hits us right in the feels every time.
Lyric: “It’s just a matter of time/That we all go away to a better place, I’m told/It all sounds well and fine/But without you around, I feel nothing but cold”
“You’re Dead” may just be the saddest song on From Here To Infirmary. Given the content of this list, of course, that’s saying something rather significant. But if you’ve ever experienced loss in any capacity, be it death or otherwise, then you know just how hard the track can hit. These lines cut particularly deep with its simple but visceral description of grief. It makes us want to grab a thick blanket and curl up in bed for a little while.
“I’m Dying Tomorrow”
Lyric: “Did I remember to stay up late?/Drinking for the fun/Singing for the taste”
Alkaline Trio didn’t hold back with the death and regret narratives on From Here To Infirmary. While they certainly get our little black hearts racing, it also feels like an oddly targeted form of emotional torture. “I’m Dying Tomorrow” seems to offer another retrospective look back at life, questioning whether or not the narrator did it “right.” All of the examples given are pretty moving, but there’s something about the simple pleasures described in these lines that hit hard.
Lyric: “If it was up to me, I’d never have to miss you/It’s for the better in the bitter end and I guess you’d know the best”
You thought we were going to make a joke about the “you decked me” line being hard-hitting, didn’t you? Admittedly, it was pretty tempting… The real gutting moment in “Bloodied Up,” however, comes with the acknowledgment of missing someone but realizing “it’s for the better in the bitter end.” It’s just one of those lyrics that will stick in the back of your mind forever and come to light to kick you while you’re down.
“Trucks And Trains”
Lyric: “These times count down like boats and planes/Some wash away in undertow, some plummet down in flames”
There’s no experience more widely shared than that of watching time fly by. With “Trucks And Trains,” Alkaline Trio really managed to capture the anxiety-inducing feeling. It seems apt enough in the first verse and then swings around again in the second, carrying much more weight with the visualization of times leaving us so violently. It’s a line that will surely leave you frozen in abject horror as you realize that there’s nothing you can do to stop the flow.
Lyric: “Never had a drink that I didn’t like/Got a taste of you, threw up all night”
Of course, we couldn’t close out this list without including one of the all-time best (and cheekiest) Alkaline Trio lines. Anybody who’s been burned by someone close to them gets it. Truly, they couldn’t have ended the album on a better song than “Crawl” for this lyric alone. The track obviously dives deeper into the sentiment, but we’re here for the imagery and its hard-hitting relatability.
Which lines from From Here To Infirmary still hit you hard 20 years later? Drop them in the comments!