Applies particularly well to various situations both realistic and hypothetical. The basic concept being that, a heroin addict will take a hit. He will then enjoy the high while it lasts and then come down, returning to the misery that is real life. Then, there is a period of revoltion, during which he swears he'll never do it again. But, it happens. Slowly, the addiction screams to life and burns the mind. To illustrate, a passage from Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh:

Ah git up fir ma tea, frail, bent and brittle as ah struggle doon the stairs. Every move makes ma blood soar tae ma throbbing heid. At one stage ah thought it wid just burst open, like a balloon, sending blood, skill fragments and grey matter splattering oantae Ma's cream woodchip.

And he goes back, and it happens again. And again. Things that this cycle illustrates particularly well: Abusive sexual relationships, masturbation, alcoholism, school, etc. Subtle, but applies to a lot of things, mainly due to the cyclic nature of everything.

Heroin, after its inception as an opiate, slowly became used in poetry and songwriting as a metaphor for various things. In modern days, contemporary pop artists have begun using it as a metaphorfor love and relationships. For those of us who are co-dependant (though I loathe to admit it, much like myself) this reference can take on a painfully horrific accuracy.

For the purpose of demonstrationwe will be taking a look at the lyrics of singer/songwriter Brian Molko of the British Alt-Punkband, Placebo.

First things first, brian is a very interesting and often cryptic songwriter. With songs like "My sweet prince" which may at first listen, seem to be a song of failed love, when in fact, it's underlying theme is dealing with heroin addiction. He's been known to write songs filled with derrogatory endearmeants, that make the reader want to rip their hair out trying to discern what he means, only to find out in one of his interviews that he was just going for a very strong sense of irony as was the case with Commercial For Levi off of Placebo's third effort, Black Market Music.

Brian wrote a song also off of the third album, Days Before You Came Hear in this song we have subtle allusions to the use of various drugs, however the one that sticks out the most to me, is the reference to heroin use. This is the verse:

"Thunderbolts and lightning
Each day a brand new vein
Couldn't start to hide me
Each tourniquet colliding
Didn't want you anyway"

Now this reference could seem very incoherent to some, which, you later realize is all a part of Brian's Style, and I mean that in the most endearing of ways.

Allright the overall message of the song Days Before You Came is that the singer's life feels empty without this person. And so when this person comes to town, things start to brighten up.

Enter cocaine reference:

Days before you came
Counting breaths inside me
Even crack cocaine
Couldn't start to hide me

Ok that part right there seems to say that when this person shows up, the singer wants to spend as much time with them as possible, so he starts doing coke to stay awake all the time. As time goes on his "baby" starts to look worn down and during his claims to revitalize him, we get the heroin reference. Thus indicating he's become addicted to this person:
Each day a brand new vein
couldn't start to hide me

In stating such a thing we see that this is where the addiction becomes unhealthy. Just like remaining co-dependent on a person you've just broken up with is looked on as being bad, wrong, or making you seem slightly Obsessive. And that my dear darlings is why Heroin makes an excellent metaphor for love and relationships. Though its vile, it's nearly impossible to put down forever, and when you do you're never the same person again!

Be sure to check out the lyrics for the entire song:
Days Before You Came by Brian Molko of Placebo. This song is off of their third album Black Market Music, Check it out!

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