Most of you are likely familiar with Theory of a Deadman with the various hits they have made over the years. They have been pretty consistent with music and chart toppers over their discography. The original album resonated with me mostly due to its sound and hard rock nature. But I will be the first to admit they started to drop off my playlists as I started to discover other music. As music tastes progress, so do the bands you listen to as well, no?
So I was sitting in my work vehicle one day in early 2018 listening to the radio. The subtle and mellow [almost depressive] sounds of an acoustic guitar, drum, and whistling take over the speakers. The calm factor of the song (which ties into it's theme) has me feeling collective, and attentive. I honestly cannot remember when lyrics resonated with me so much. It's probably been years and years since a song instantly gave me goosebumps like "Rx" did. I went home and probably listened to it a good dozen or two dozen times that evening. And it's still in rotation today.
Why oh why can't you just fix me?
When all I want's to feel numb
But the medication's all done
Why oh why does God hate me?
When all I want's to get high
And forget this so-called life
It speaks of culture, personal issues, mental health, and many other faux-pas we do not talk about on a regular basis. People need escape, and this is how some of them find it. It may not be the reality that many of us want to find ourselves in life, but it's also a reality that can/should be treated and given the light of day. We as a culture have assumed that kids can be given medication like Ritalin. Got a pain in your neck? Take a pain med. Had a tough day at work? Cool off with a couple beers. It's an accepted culture that TOAD has tried to outline in their anthem track for the addicted.
Your friends are high right now
Your parents are high right now
That hot chick's high right now
That cop is high right now
The president's high right now
Your priest is high right now
Everyone's high as fuck right now
And no one's ever coming down
The song revolves around the theme of drug and alcohol addiction. Being that the addiction culture has been increasingly prevalent in our society, this was truly a song that made me look both at the world around me, and look at myself. One drink turns into six. Six drinks turns into a rough night. A rough night turns into a rough year. You see where I am going with this. Most of us have the ability to show tolerance and restraint when it comes to these vices. But what happens when someone close to you (or yourself) can't help but be consumed by it? What happens when someone close to you (or yourself) uses these vices exactly as the song says..."I guess I'll sit around and medicate"?
(NOTE: I am very aware that some people require medication in order to balance out their life/brain/thoughts/feelings, so let's try and not pool these people into the same boat as what this article is about, and what the meaning of the song presents.)
"When I got divorced, I went and saw a therapist and the first thing she said was, 'I want to put you on some Beta blockers or some sort of anti-depressant stuff' and I'm like, 'No! No Way! What? How is that the first thing you want to do?' I just feel like something's wrong and I felt like the song needed to be written and people needed to hear it.
It seems like every week something terrible is happening. I mean, Chris Cornell...and when we shot the video for it all these directors we talked to were like, 'Oh yeah, I had a huge prescription drug problem, so this hits home' and all that stuff. So it's a really important song and I'm so happy we get to release it first." -Tyler Connolly
There are a million different reasons why we medicate. Loss of a loved one, bad breakup, boredom, depression, peer pressure, anxiety, school, anger, work, finances, and 999990 other reasons. The point I think this song was trying to make was that we use these 'medications' because it's the path of least resistance. Actually trying to get to root of problems, or just simply listening to reasons this person feels this way is too hard, so let's prescribe or recommend something to take the edge off and mask the problem.
Crushin' candy crushin' pills
Got no job, mom pays my bills
Textin' ex's get my fill
Sweatin' bullets, Netflix-chills
Much like "Rx", let's talk about Superman. Superheroes have a special place in my heart. Call them my motivation, courage, and positive vibes when life throws you problem after problem. We always see Superman as this all powerful being that could wipe out most of the Earth and there would be nothing we could do about. We are forever grateful that someone such as him uses his power for good and helps humans. But one thing we don't normally see is Superman in the shadows. What does he feel when he is alone? What are his battles? Does he get scared? Is he afraid of anything? So many questions this song gave me and changed my perspective. It broke me if you will. It made me realize that they could have their own issues just like we do everyday. It made them feel more...human. I am still not sure if that comforted me, or made me feel more bleak. Superheroes likely need help just as much as we do when it comes to our own problems. The world can beat you down time and time again, and there's always that reliance that someone like Superman will come and save us.
Superman is a hero
But only when his mind is clear though
He needs that fix like the rest of us
So he's got no fear when he saves that bus
What happens when Superman can't help others because he can't help himself? How does he cope with his life like others do? Does he pop pills? Drink? This part of the song really hit home for me. It forced me to reflect on many choices, decisions, and reasons why I am the way I am, and what I resort to (still no regrets and not wanting to change the past). For many years, I felt like I have to emulate my superheroes and just be the bigger person in this world. Don't talk about your personal issues and just do what you can to focus on others, and cope with medication if you need to so you can help the next person. It's funny how simple lyrics such as "Rx" can make you rethink something like that.
To me, this song painted a much bigger picture than just addiction. It made me question motives, reasons, chemical brain balances, emotional well beings, outside pressures, cultural norms, and so many other personal/non-personal variables. It forced me to empathize with that dark hole that people feel they cannot get out of, and feel the false sense of relief through addictions. Let's get to the root of these problems and help people versus treating them like a number and pushing them down the line with 'pretty yellow, happy pills'.
PS - If you feel you (or someone close to you) might have an addiction to unhealthy life choices such as alcohol, drugs (legal and illegal), or using it to cope with mental health issues, then go talk to someone professional about it. There is help out there for you. I can tell you first hand that music is a vice that helps me through some rough times, and helps me avoid making bad life choices. Maybe it does for you as well. Maybe that is why you are here reading this...