Is It Medicine – Deciphering The Sonic Elixir of Emotional Alchemy

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for The Knife's Is It Medicine at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. Nighttime Confessions: A Ceremonial Awakening
  5. Dawn’s Relentless Inquiry: The Search for a Cure
  6. Elixir of Silence or Screams: The Cathartic Choice
  7. The Labor of Lucidity: Sanity as a Full-Time Job
  8. The Cycle of Sorrow and Solace: Unveiling the Song’s Hidden Meaning


No more tears and you’ll be fine
I stay here all night
And when I’ve stayed all the night
We go out in the morning light
We go out in the morning light

And then you strive to live they day
Don’t know how, don’t know what to say
Is it medicine or social skill?
Don’t have answer and nobody will

Do it screaming or without a word
Being sane is a full time work
Another day has come to an end
Then you start to cry again

Full Lyrics

Peering into the soul-stirring depths of ‘Is It Medicine’ by The Knife, one cannot help but get ensnared in the hauntingly beautiful interplay of melancholy and existential musings. At its core, this track from the Swedish electronic music duo is more than just a synthesis of captivating melodies and enigmatic tones; it’s a profound lyrical exploration of emotional endurance and the intricate remedies we seek for psychological survival.

The song unravels the complexity of human emotions, juxtaposing nighttime introspection with the struggles of dawn. The Knife masterfully blends metaphoric sophistication with bare vulnerability, challenging listeners to discern whether it’s the companionship, the cry, or the pressing of a day that functions as the true elixir in this rhythmic remedy.

Nighttime Confessions: A Ceremonial Awakening

The song begins in the intimacy of night—a safe space where tears are permitted, and confessions echo without judgment. The Knife sets a scene of solace, hinting at the medicinal properties of darkness itself. Beneath the shroud of twilight, there’s a gradual preparation for what lies ahead, a line drawn between nocturnal comfort and the stark light of day.

Holding vigil, the songstress promises a stay that lasts through the night, emphasizing the endurance one must muster to brace against the emotional elements. The nocturnal hours serve as a therapeutic session, intimate and cocooned—an antechamber to the inevitable exposure that the morning brings.

Dawn’s Relentless Inquiry: The Search for a Cure

As the light creeps in, signaling a new day, ‘Is It Medicine’ shifts from a mantra for the lonely to an anthem for the resolute. The duo encapsulates the vulnerability of not knowing ‘how’ or ‘what to say,’ a sentiment so pervasive in life’s most challenging moments. The morning is personified as an all-seeing entity, before which one must gather their social armors and medicinal balms.

The Knife deftly puts the listener into a trance of introspection with their use of ‘medicine or social skill,’ tapping into the universal pursuit of balance between internal healing and external adaptation. Each sunrise brings with it the question of how to medicate the spirit—through learned behaviors or inherent coping mechanisms.

Elixir of Silence or Screams: The Cathartic Choice

Expression, in its rawest form, plays a pivotal role in the track. Choosing to scream or maintain silence becomes not merely an act of decision but an act of healing. By presenting these extremes, The Knife underscores the spectrum of ways we attempt to console our psyche and manage sanity.

Through the metaphor of medication, ‘Is It Medicine’ probes deeper into the psyche, examining the potency of both verbal release and quiet endurance. The spectrum is presented as a daily pharmacopeia from which one must choose their salve—be it the scream that purges pain or the silence that absorbs it.

The Labor of Lucidity: Sanity as a Full-Time Job

Amidst the song’s ethereal cadence, there lies a profound commentary on the laborious nature of maintaining mental clarity. ‘Is It Medicine’ underscores the relentless task of preserving sanity, hinting at a world where tranquility must be fought for and emotional stability is hard-earned.

The Knife positions the struggle for mental health on the same pedestal as any other career, with all of its demands and expectations. It’s a reminder of the constant toil involved in presenting a composed exterior to the world, often relegating the individual’s inner turmoil to a private affair, dealt with behind closed doors and stoic facades.

The Cycle of Sorrow and Solace: Unveiling the Song’s Hidden Meaning

‘Is It Medicine’ is more than it lets on—beneath the minimalist surface, it is a labyrinth of emotional complexity. It suggests that healing may not always come from traditional remedies or societal interaction, but rather from the natural ebb and flow of human emotion.

The Knife gives life to an evocative narrative about the cyclical nature of emotional pain and care. Each night brings the promise of tears, but also the assurance of morning’s light—a cycle that reflects the human condition’s inevitable oscillation between despair and hope, breakdown and recovery, echoing the perpetual quest for a panacea.

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