Hey helpless brothers, I’m talking to thee
Forget Indian summer and your dreams of the sea
I was confiding in the toilet, you see I’m a prisoner of war
My echo said, stop me if you’ve heard this one before
If you want to get laid go strut for the bomb
Because everybody wants her and no one is wrong

What color is the ocean after the oil
It’s the color of the sky cooked in aluminum foil
But the Shakespeare cape with the tattered seams
Suits a prince just fine when he’s suicidal and mean
So go find me a father who needs to be killed
And a mother who cheats and some blood can be spilled

Briefing the murderer under a bulb
The lawyer asked the maggot don’t you want to get old?
Because you can go down dignified and pay for your sins
Or you can learn to lean on me and everybody wins
So tell me whose your uncle and how do you plead?
Don’t look down at your shoes kid, it’s time to look up to me

If you can’t see my mirror I cannot see you
That’s what the officer explained to the Jew
But maybe the lines which define us are just ditches in our heads
Besides I never had the privilege of any brown sugar in my bed
But I’ve been to the doctor and he swears he can fix my nose
So I traded in my bible for a catalog of clothes

The Noble Lady, Noble Savage, Noble Negro, Noble Poor
They don’t cruise the boulevard on their halos anymore
They were forced underground when the towers collapsed
For carrying an imaginary cross on their backs
But don’t worry they’ve been beaten, sterilized and cannot breed
They sing Home on the Range around a barrel in Queens

Well here’s to the era fill in the blank
And to all of the terror-filled lives of the saints
And to Aesop, Confucius, Aristotle and Calvin
And to the marble pillars that humored cuckolded Samson
As for me I was betrayed the moment I asked myself, why?
When I put down my basket of berries and stared up at the sky

Where’s my medicine, my sweet medicine?
All of this time I thought I was fine
Until I woke up trying to crawl out of my skin
Tell me, where’s my medicine?


Lyrics submitted by telloldbill

Medicine Blues song meanings
Add your thoughts

3 Comments

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is gorgeous, but i don't know what it means yet
    shewouldnton May 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI asked him at the Bright Eyes show in calgary if he would play it and he said yes..
    That was the greatest live performance I have ever seen.

    The song is almost... showcasing a bunch of times where the world is so fucked up.
    Theres only one verse I can really wrap my head around:

    "Briefing the murderer under a bulb
    The lawyer asked the maggot don’t you want to get old?
    Because you can go down dignified and pay for your sins
    Or you can learn to lean on me and everybody wins
    So tell me whose your uncle and how do you plead?
    Don’t look down at your shoes kid, it’s time to look up to me"

    The worst criminal in the world can walk free if he has a good lawyer, if he knows the right people. He can "go down dignified and pay for his sins" but.. he never does.
    Flamingo*on January 24, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis song is too much, and almost refuses to be pinned down with one single definitive meaning. It has a timeless quality I associate with classic songwriters from the sixties and seventies, and which seem nearly extinct these days. Even the mention of the era as "Fill-in-the-blank." Perhaps this song is merely about timeless themes: infidelity and revenge, political corruption, poor treatment of lower class/minorities.

    I agree with Flamingo regarding the unique ability of wealthy-criminals to get off scot free.

    "Shakespeare's cape," suited for a mean and suicidal prince, is referencing Hamlet, made more clear after mention of the unfaithful mother and uncle.

    But my favorite line, by far, is "But I've been to the doctor and he swears he can fix my nose /
    So I traded in my bible for a catalog of clothes." In today's society of cosmetic surgery and families who pay more for clothing than some make for an entire months wage, religion has certainly been changed out in favor of rampant consumerism.
    telloldbillon April 28, 2011   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain