Song of the Day #4,879: ‘Suicide is Murder’ – Aimee Mann

Aimee Mann’s latest album came out a week ago today (though it hasn’t yet been released as I write this). Queens of the Summer Hotel is an interesting project, a batch of songs written for a planned stage musical based on the 1993 memoir Girl, Interrupted by Susannah Kaysen.

The book, about the author’s experiences as a young woman in a psychiatric hospital, seems like a weird fit for a musical. A 1999 film adaptation worked well enough, winning strong reviews for star Winona Ryder and an Oscar for co-star Angelina Jolie. But setting such dark and unsettling material to music? I don’t know.

Mann is certainly an appropriate fit for the material. Her last album was titled Mental Illness, after all, and she has been open about her own experience with depression. Few songwriters are better at tapping into anguish and melancholy.

It’s unclear what form the musical will take, or if it will be made at all, so Mann’s album will stand alone for now. The three songs released so far all have a loping, jazzy sound that doesn’t seem suited to a stage musical. And it’s hard to imaging a voice other than Mann’s aching alto delivering these tunes.

[Verse 1]
Picture yourself
There in the snow turning blue
Get used to that being you

Picture yourself
Blood from a cut on your wrist
Checking for veins that you missed

[Chorus]
‘Cause suicide is murder
You’ve got to have motive, means and opportunity
Suicide is murder
Premeditated, rehearsed tragedy

[Verse 2]
Motive is key
Count off the friends who would care
If there are none then you’re there

Motive’s a must
Shame and self-loathing a plus
Tickets for under the bus

[Chorus]
Suicide is murder
You’ve got to have motive, means and opportunity
Suicide is murder
Premeditated, rehearsed tragedy

[Bridge]
But beware ’cause anyone who knew you
Will be cursed and part of them will also die
There’s no end to the asking of the question
Why?

[Verse 3]
So picture yourself
What sums up all of your ills?
Is it drowning?
Or bullets or pills?

Try to detach
If throwing the pills down the hatch
Or falling where no one can catch

[Chorus]
If Suicide is murder
You’ve got to have the stomach for a heartless killing spree
Suicide is murder
Premeditated, rehearsed tragedy

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,879: ‘Suicide is Murder’ – Aimee Mann

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Much like everything I have heard from Mann in the past few decades, this song is lovely, melancholy and unremarkable.

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