They're picking up pieces of me
While they're picking up pieces of you
In a bag you will be before the day is over
While you're looking for somewhere to be
Or looking for someone to do
Stupid me to believe that I could trust in stupid you
And on the back of my hand
Were directions I could understand
Now that old buzzer Johnny Walker
Has gone and ruined all our plans
Our best mate plans

Don't leave me here to pass through time
Without a map or road sign
Don't leave me here, my guiding light
Cause I, I wouldn't know where to begin
I ask the kings of medicine

They're picking up pieces of me
While they're picking up pieces of you
Lying on ice you will be before the day is over
So case in point, baby
That you never thought it through
Stupid me to believe I could depend on stupid you
And on the tip of my tongue
Were words that always came out wrong
Cause they were drowned in southern comfort
Left to dry out in the sun, the noon day sun

Don't leave me here to pass through time
Without a map or road sign
Don't leave me here, my guiding light
Cause I, I wouldn't know where to begin
I ask the kings of medicine
But it seems they've lost their power
Now all I'm left with is the hour

Don't leave me here to pass through time
Without a map or road sign
Don't leave me here, my guiding light
Cause I, I wouldn't know where to begin
I ask the kings of medicine
But it seems they've lost their power
Now all I'm left with is the hour

Don't leave me here
Don't leave me here, oh no
I wouldn't know where to begin


Lyrics submitted by KT-

Kings of Medicine Lyrics as written by William Lloyd Steve Forrest

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Kings of Medicine song meanings
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  • +3
    My InterpretationTo me this song is about codependent alcoholics and what it means to be one of them. The "kings of medicine" are physicians--the medical community has long acknowledged that they are powerless to do anything to "cure" alcoholism. All he's left with as a solution is the "hour"--the length of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

    Such a great, powerful song--my current favorite on a near-masterpiece of an album from a long-time favorite band.

    ("cameo" I loved your last post and do think a lot like you!)
    DaveInSFon June 29, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentMeaning-wise, are the "Kings Of Medicine" drug dealers? Or is that just my thinking?

    If so, then the song could be about a reliance on alcohol drugs ruining your life ("ruined all our plans") but in the end they stop making you feel good ("lost their power"). The end of the song seems a bit more optimistic as people have pointed out in reference to the trumpets, so it may be about ending an addiction and moving on but the sound still has undertones of betrayal and pessimism, perhaps with respect to the idea of not knowing how to live without these substances ("I wouldn't know where to begin").

    I don't know if anyone else thinks of it this way, but whatever :)
    cameoon June 28, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI love this song... one of the best on the album :)
    I think this song expresses Brian's lonliness.. and how alone he feels.. "don't leave me here, to pass through time..."
    and how he wants someone to be there for him... he turns to drugs, but they don't seem to take the pain away.. "i ask the kings of medicine, but it seems they've lost their powers".. now all he has left is time, to help with the pain "now, all i'm left with is the hour"

    this is such a beautiful song :)
    silenteyeson October 18, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationWell, it's pretty clear that song is about alcoholism, and not some other sort of drug, due to the numerous alcohol references.
    I interpreted the "Kings of medicine" as being alcohol, which one would use to solve their problems, however, I think in this song, they realize that it's not really helping anything.
    So to me the song represents the realization that he's in this awful state, and his alcoholism is a problem he doesn't know how to cope with.
    However in the end, despite his fears, I triumphant tone can be found in the music, perhaps implying that now that he's faced this problem, he can solve it.


    But that's just me.
    SunnyDon November 29, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationPersonally this song always evokes the story of William Burroughs and his wife. They got drunk one night and decided to do a "william tell act". She put an apple on her head and he shot at it but missed, hitting her in the head and killing her. His subsequent struggle with the guilt over killing her contributed hugely to his writing, and by some accounts even drove him to become gay as he could no longer stand to be with women who reminded him of the woman he killed.

    If not this particular story, I definitely think this song is about a person getting drunk and killing their lover. The references to alcohol and the narrator dieing internally as the other is "picked up" as by paramedics or the coroner.

    Powerful song, one of my favorites by Placebo.
    Twist9on January 18, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think this song is about two people meeting for the first time, probably in a bar. 'Were you looking for somewhere to be Or looking for someone to do?' refers to her stepping into the main character's life.

    The main character regrets having met her 'Stupid me To believe that I could Trust in stupid you'. He knows better now that he should not have fallen for her or let her tempt him. But they had fun together and made plans, which probably let them get into a car together and drive drunk.

    'Now that old buzzard Johnny Walker Has gone And ruined all our plans our best-made plans' refers to they've drunk the entire bottle, and the consequence is that they got into a car accident and all their plans are ruined because they're severely injured: 'They’re picking up pieces of me While they’re picking up pieces of you In a bag, you will be before the day is over'. So we know she won't survive. And we find out too, that the main character won't survive either. 'Don’t leave me here, my guiding light,' is referring to the light of being alive.

    'Cause I wouldn’t know where to begin I asked the kings of medicine' - He feels lost and overwhelmed with what happened to them. He once had his way 'And on the back of my hand Were directions I could understand' which could refer to her giving him her phone number and he certainly knew what to do with that. But he got lost in the moment in the bar too, and one thing led to another, 'It’s a case in point baby That you never thought it through' referring to her maybe giving him directions, but then they just got stuck in that place and went on drinking together. 'And on the tip of my tongue Were words that always came out wrong ‘Cause they were drowned in Southern Comfort And left to dry out in the sun' might refer to him at her funeral and he couldn't get out the words. And he's scared to be left and alone: 'Don’t leave me here to pass through time Without a map or road sign' . He doesn't know how to go on from this tragedy. 'I asked the kings of medicine But it seems they’ve lost their powers Now all I’m left with is the hours' - referring to he tried to get drunk again but it's not working anymore for him to drain his sorrows. So all he's left with is the hours of regret. He feels damned.
    StoriesinSongs.comon March 07, 2020   Link
  • 0
    General Commentjust some little corrections (:

    "While you're looking for somewhere to be"
    should be:
    "were you looking...."

    sounds more like 'best made plans'



    it's an odd one this, though he's saying 'don't leave me here', the music sounds quite triumphant by the end, makes me think that you may not know the answer now, but you will; it's normal to doubt yourself and to sulk

    i'm probably wrong, but hey
    gimmefateon May 30, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmy fav. song off the new album so far.

    references to johnny walker and soco :]
    MollyWasAGoodGirlon May 31, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt is sooooooo different from the other Placebo songs.... Yet I love it. Is it just me or Placebo have changed after Steve's departure? I mean, the typical Placebo-esque sound still exists in some songs off the new album, but overall... it IS different.
    teenagewifeon June 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is also my fav. song!!!
    Like Teenagewife sad, they have changed with steve leaving the band.
    But if i hear this song... man its great.

    especially whene you here the trumpets near the end.
    i listen to it all the time.

    Great job brain ;)
    Nextriaon June 01, 2009   Link

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