Pop culture time capsule: How Fugazi’s “Red Medicine” reminds us of a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive

Posted on October 23rd, 2008 – 1:05 PM
By Michael Rand

One of our favorite things to do these days is to pull out an old CD we haven’t listened to in years and bring it down to the car for some heavy rotation. This is particularly useful when you drive to North Dakota and don’t want to listen to sports talk radio, religious programming or country music. Our most recent pull was Fugazi’s “Red Medicine,” and we were struck by how it is one of those CDs that follows a natural progression from beginning to end. It is not simply a collection of songs — it is scripted with highs and lows like a good movie, or an opera … or a long, sustained TD drive (bear with us if you’ve forgotten what those are like). While we are sometimes tempted to skip around to our favorite songs on the disc (and sometimes, indeed, we do that), it almost feels like cheating when it comes to Red Medicine. It’s the same thing when you fully appreciate a sustained scoring drive (or even a long at-bat in baseball). Every play matters and relates to the other plays, just as every song does. Indulge us for a moment: beginning as we go track-by-track, and play-by-play.

1. Do You Like Me: has a slow buildup the feels like a kickoff, followed by a down-your-throat running play after the buildup.
2. Bed For the Scraping: Play action to the tight end. First down.
3. Latest disgrace: Another running play. Five-yard gain with some tough running.
4. Birthday Pony: Toss sweep. Third and two.
5. Forensic Scene: Tight curl to your slot receiver. Six yards, first down, ball at your 46.
6. Combination lock: Deep ball, incomplete, but served a purpose.
7. Fell, destroyed: 12-yard slant. First down at the 44.
8. By You: QB scramble for 2 yards when it could have been a loss of 4.
9. Version: Run for 1 yard, still softening the defense.
10. Target: Aha! The play you’ve been building toward. Play action, seam route, 29 yards, first and 10 at the 12.
11. Back to Base: You are not stopping us. Run right at the pile, 11 yards, dragged down at the 1, first and goal.
12. Downed city: Leap over the pile, TD.
13. Long distance runner: Mellow comedown like an extra point. Almost automatic and reflexive.

So yeah, that’s how Red Medicine is like a TD drive. Any other CDs where this works or you make other connections?

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