“Medicine” by James Arthur
In this current era of pop music, it is quite common for singers to reveal their own inner struggles through song. James Arthur is someone who has gone on record as stating he suffers from serious emotional/psychological issues at least since 2018, when he admitted to experiencing a panic attack during one of his shows.
And this wasn’t just a sympathy-seeking shtick, as it led to him cancelling said tour and basically undergoing rehab. But generally speaking, let’s just say that he’s not the type to keep his personal (i.e. health or even sexual) issues private. Thus the singer gets quite frank in “Medicine”, a song which is reflective of his experiences of spending 2020 (i.e. the year of COVID lockdowns, etc.) with his lover.
And yes, we would have to say that this is in fact a love song. The “you” whom the vocalist is referring to throughout would be his significant other. And fundamentally speaking, this is one of those kinds of tunes where the singer is tasked with detailing just how much his sweetheart has edified his life.
But even beyond the usual, as the title indicates he considers her to be his “medicine”. That means that she also has a curative effect on his well-being.
Indeed he even states that she “take(s) the pain” away and is the “cure for all (his) scars”. Those would of course be symbolic statements.
James talks about “Medicine”
But going back to James Arthur’s real life, his lover has literally (based on his own explanation of the song) served as his support when he was feeling suicidal, as stated in the chorus. So obviously this lady has had a genuinely profound impact on him.
Later in the song the singer refers to the addressee as ‘his heroine’. And this track operates at least partially along one of those kinds of motifs where the singer likens the romance he is in (and/or his partner) to a drug which he is “addicted to”. This sentiment comes out most prominently in the bridge.
But all lyrics considered, the most important aspect of said metaphor isn’t so much how the vocalist is dependent on his boo as it is how “good” she makes him feel.
So the conclusive sentiment of it all, as indicated by the final line of the second verse, is that James is going to treat this lady well. Or stated otherwise, he understands how valuable she is considering how she has held him down during his dark moments.
And generally speaking, this track can be considered an ode to love that is better than ‘any drug’. More specifically it centers on a very faithful and effectual partner.
But it should be noted that James Arthur’s own goal for “Medicine” is for it to serve as a song that fills people with hope as they struggle through the pandemic and its associated lockdowns.
And he has also clarified that the underlying message of the entire piece is “love over adversity”. And such is a quality which clearly his lover possesses, being able to love him despite his own inner adversities.
Facts about “Medicine”
This track was released on 5 March 2021, marking the first single James Arthur has released for said year. And it was issued by Columbia Records. Prior to this, he had teamed up with English DJ Sigala to release a single in 2020 titled “Lasting Lover“.
“Medicine” is a product of a forthcoming James Arthur album, which is untitled as of the release of the song. In fact it can be said to be the lead single from said project. And we know so because Arthur himself has stated this is the first tune he has written for an entire album of work.
James wrote this song in conjunction with James Bell, Rick Parkhouse and George Tizzard. Rick and George, collectively known as Red Triangle, also produced “Medicine”, doing so alongside Matt Rad.
In terms of who exactly James Arthur is singing to, it has been reported that it would be one Jessica Grist. Grist is a professional dancer who, like James, owes at least part of her fame to the reality-TV circuit. This is a lady whom the singer has been romantically linked with since around 2012, though they had broken up along the way. But they got back together circa 2017 and apparently have remained so since, or at least are still together as of the release of this track.
James had been self-releasing music even prior to winning The X Factor in 2012. But it was his success on said program which catapulted him into stardom. And perhaps due to his prior professional experience, he was actually able to translate that fame, unlike most winners we can say, into becoming a viable pop star.