Phonotonal
Alkaline Trio - Blood, Hair, and Eyeballs

Alkaline Trio
Bad Time

Look. I’m not gonna lie. I’m a sucker for a beautifully arranged bit of rhythmic guitar stabbing. That’s one of the things that made Rival Schools’ ‘Used For Glue’ one of my playlist anchors and it had no better example than ‘Time To Waste’. So, it didn’t take long for ‘Bad Time’ to get filed in that special place in my heart.

There’s a teaser motif, then the rhythm guitar comes in with the hint of rhythm and I’ve fallen hard. The layers built from there mean I’m lost forever. On top of all this, the song itself is also brilliant.

The song’s lyrics are directly inspired by real-life events, though it somehow spins out into a love song about really wanting to talk to someone, no matter what’s going on around you.

Bad Time’ was initially inspired by a friend and crush who happened to call me while I was on tour in El Paso, TX as an active shooter situation was happening just across from where we were staying. We could hear gunshots and sirens as the situation escalated. My friend asked if it was a bad time to talk, and I said no — I really wanted to speak with her. It was actually a terrible and terrifying time, but it was never a bad time to hear her voice.

The song weaves in another dangerous experience in Chicago:

The second verse goes back to a time in Chicago when my roommate Bobby and I were almost killed in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting — high as kites on mushrooms. We lived in a neighborhood run by Latin Kings at the time of the shooting, so I reference those facts as well as how nice it would have been to hear from the same girl back then.

So, it’s a semi-autobiographical near-death love song. We love it.

Bad Time Video

Watch Alkaline Trio – ‘Bad Time’.

Bad Time Lyrics

Thought you called me up that one time
Thought that I heard gunfire
I stepped outside
Left a message saying ‘hi’
I answered from a firefight
Told you it’s a bad time, but I can talk

I really want to talk to you
I’m being stalked
By killer robots and I’m pretty sure they’re bullet proof
It’s a bad time

I thought to call you up so many times
I heard gunfire in the dead of the night
Left a message saying ‘hi’
I answered from a drive-by
Told you it’s a bad time
But I can talk

No, I really wanna talk to you
I’m being stalked
By Latin royalty and me and Bobby just ate shrooms
It’s a bad time

And you’re the only one that I can tell
That I can talk to
I should be under your spell right now, your spell right now
The way you move, it moves me
With no place left to go
And your sweet voice leaves me speechless
Like you will never know

I really wanna talk to you
Oh I really wanna talk to you
I really wanna talk
I really wanna talk to you
I really wanna talk
I really wanna talk to you

And you’re the only one that I can tell
That I can talk to
I should be under your spell right now, your spell right now
The way you move, it moves me
With no place left to go
Your sweet voice leaves me speechless
Like you will never know
I really wanna talk to you

Written by Fenton on

Steve Fenton writes in our music, words, and culture categories. He was Editor in Chief for The Mag and covered live music for DV8 Magazine and Spill Magazine. He was often found in venues throughout the UK alongside ace-photographer, Mark Holloway. Steve is also a technical writer and programmer and writes gothic fiction. Steve studied Psychology at OSC, and Anarchy in the UK: A History of Punk from 1976-1978 at the University of Reading.
Fenton

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