10 times Alkaline Trio made pop culture references in their music
Chicago punk-rock act Alkaline Trio have been around for over two decades, and their catalog holds tons of references to heartbreak, drugs and pop culture.
In honor of the icons’ seventh album, This Addiction, turning 10 today, we’ve compiled some of our favorite pop culture references across their discography. Check out our list below.
1. “I Wanna Be A Warhol”
This obvious nod from Alkaline Trio’s eighth full-length, My Shame Is True, refers to the late, great artist Andy Warhol. Best known from the pop-art movement, lyrics throughout compare the narrator to Warhol’s work or “a little piece of history.”
The “Sadie” in the song from the punk trio’s album Crimson is referring to is Sadie Glutz, also known as Susan Atkins, who was a member of the Manson Family. Atkins was one of the people who took part in the gruesome murder of the Hollywood actress Sharon Tate. This horrid event has been referenced throughout pop culture, including most recently in the 2019 Oscar-nominated Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
“Draculina” can be found on This Addiction, and it contains a nod to the fantastic Lewis Carroll novel Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland: “What ever happened to Wonderland? And where’d Alice go?” It juxtapositions the Alice dream world to the nightmare of a current relationship in a unique and clever way.
4. “Hell Yes”
“Hell Yes” was released as a single in 2001, written as a tribute to the founder and high priest of the famous Church of Satan located in San Francisco shortly after lead singer Matt Skiba moved there. The lyrics seem to tell of the narrator losing faith and coming to terms with an atheist theology.
5. “We’ve Had Enough”
The fiery Good Mourning track features nods to both the Misfits (“Put on Walk Among Us and turn it up”) and to the great Vincent Van Gogh (“And every urge to Van Gogh both our ears”). Alkaline Trio and Skiba have both acknowledged their heavy Misfits influence, making it no surprise to see a nod to the horror punks in their vast catalog.
6. “Nose Over Tail”
This Goddamnit classic features a reference to The Wizard Of Oz tale in the song’s lyrics: “Cracked my head open on your kitchen floor/To prove to you that I have brains/Meanwhile, tin men are led by little girls/Down golden roads that lead to nowhere.” Skiba’s signature dark lyrics comparing a plane crash to the feeling of falling in love will have you “Nose Over Tail” for this Alkaline Trio track.
7. “Prevent This Tragedy”
Found on Alkaline Trio’s Crimson, “Prevent This Tragedy” tells the famous story of the West Memphis Three. The phrase represents three young teenagers who were charged with the murder of three young boys in the 1990s, with some believing the three teens were innocent and wrongfully convicted. The track is one of the more serious ones by Alkaline Trio, showcasing a different side to the punk act.
8. “One Last Dance”
“One Last Dance” from My Shame Is True offers listeners a comparison to Bobby Smith, who was a famed R&B singer best known for his work with the Motown group the Spinners. The Spinners’ more popular songs were focused around heartbreak and loved ones getting away. However, Skiba does more than just reference Smith. He channels him in a song about regret for “acting like a schoolboy trapped in a man.”
9. “Goodbye Fire Island”
This track from Alkaline Trio’s latest full-length, Is This Thing Cursed?, refers back to the infamous Fyre Festival that Skiba’s other band, blink-182, were set to headline before the festival was canceled following a lack of supplies, water and everything else promised to guests. In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2018, Skiba said, “It’s about Fyre Festival...I thought about what would happen if there was no aid provided to those people, if they all started killing and eating each other. It had kind of the Lord Of Flies vibe to it—Lord Of The Entitled Flies. It’s people burning their money to stay warm.”
10. “Sweet Vampires”
This track can also be found on Is This Thing Cursed?, but it references a famous Hollywood road that’s been used in countless films. “I was the live fast, car crash, Mulholland Drive” is a nod to the famous Mulholland road that can be seen in the movies such as Rebel Without A Cause and Mulholland Drive.
What’s your favorite pop culture reference from Alkaline Trio? Let us know in the comments below!