. . .
Sunny Sweeney had been kicking around Nashville for over a decade before we discovered her fourth album, 2017’s Trophy. I don’t know how it came across my radar — 2017 being approximately 57 years ago or so — but I definitely liked her big full voice belting it out over loose, sparse arrangements.
My favorite was “Pills,” one of two songs on the album that was a cover, but as written by Brennen Leigh & Noel McKay, led with the very knowing chorus.
Are you still takin’ them pills?
Are they still givin’ you thrills?
Does your coat still sound like a maraca
When you’re walkin’ up and down around the Tennessee hills?
The prescription that you’re takin’ to the pharmacist is written
On a stack of twenty dollar bills
Uh-huh, are you still takin’ them pills?
Accompanied by a nicely aggressive lead guitar by either Keith Gattis or James Mitchell, an atmospheric B-3 by James Hill and a near-uptempo beat, Sunny sounds wistful about her pill-poppin’ past.
I remember back when we used to take ’em
And we’d feel them start to kickin’ in
At first, we’d feel a tingle, then we’d feel a prickle
Like there’s something crawlin’ on my skin
I think they almost made us feel a little happy
I think they nearly made us feel like we belong
They said it’s bringin’ on somethin’ for an entire day
Then we’d talk about it all night long
This, of course, isn’t so far off from some of the other great songs about pills, like Bo Diddley’s “Pills” — or future Certain Songs by 28th Day and 20/20 — except of course it’s in the past, not the present. In a later verse she humblebrags about being “clean for years” while also admitting that she thinks about those days all the time, which, check! In the end though, she keeps asking if her friend is taking those pills, which you know, and I know, and Sunny know: of course they are.
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