At what point does a man lose his sanity? At which precise moment does a human being's mind become so irreparably distorted that he can no longer sufficiently perceive and occupy reality? What violence rends the mind with such scarring force, such total tragedy?

The clock ticks ever louder and LOUDER and the inane chattering of those around you becomes low-pitched like a murmur, like a high tide washing ashore, and the song of the Sirens echoes through your skull like the Emergency Broadcast System and all within your sight becomes formless shapes, which reassemble into cold steel bars, and the scream begins in your head, not in your lungs, and you curl up and try to keep this inside and everything is so cold and you can feel your arms twitching and the pain learns to exist without needing thought. The pain feeds on existence. Oedipus grips the pins, Phaethon drops the reins, the door to the observation deck is barricaded and there is only one way out.

One way, one way... but suddenly you can hear yourself breathe again, you hug yourself, and the bars fall away, the Sirens were never singing, and you can feel the blood flow, warm and strong through the veins, and as you lay there finding yourself, you know that everything will be okay.

But that damn clock keeps ticking.

The first song on Boingo's self-titled album (released in 1994). The album was incredibly different from the albums released by the band as Oingo Boingo, as the opening song makes quite clear. Far from Oingo Boingo's 80s danceable rock and typical pop song length, "Insanity" mixes a somewhat standard rock band set up (guitars, bass, drums, etc.) with an orchestra to give the song a very moving and dramatic feel. The song also features some interesting percussion, with Danny Elfman (singer/songwriter/other things that are usually rhythm guitar) banging away on a huge bongo-ish drum (footage of this can be found on the Farewell videos). "Insanity" clocks in at seven minutes and fifty seven seconds in length, almost twice as long as what most radio stations typically edit longer songs too.

The words to "Insanity" are a satirical stab at Christian values of purity (or rather how many Christians act about them), racism in society, and obsession - much darker than Oingo Boingo's material, though with the Oingo quite a few songs still had a theme of pointing out flaws in society and obsession (but then, quite a few didn't as well). The music reflects this in this song (and the album as a whole) a lot more than previous Oingo Boingo material. Danny Elfman's work on film scores undoubtedly has a lot of influence here. (Think of any Tim Burton flick aside from Ed Wood and, as of this writing, the score will have been composed by Elfman. Not to say he hasn't done anything unrelated to Burton.)

As usual, the words and music were both written by Danny Elfman. The song was produced by Elfman, Steve Bartek, and John Avila. Aside from the basic band and orchestra setup used throughout the album (see Boingo for specifics) the liner notes credit Cameron and Taylor Graves for background vocals and the following Boingo member relatives as their Insanity Gang: Mali Elfman, Liela and Jennifer Avila, and Juanita Tiff.

As defined in 12-step recovery, this is the act of repeating the same behavior over and over, yet always expecting a different result.

Some familiar examples:

  • habitually showing up late for work, thus getting fired from every job because of this
  • continually spending all one's money on an addiction, not paying the bills, then suffering the consequences
  • forever drinking to the point of extreme intoxication, vowing while suffering the hangover from hell that they'll never drink again, then over-indulging until the same misery is revisited

  • Can this be attributed to an OCD? Faulty conditioning? Stupidity? False hope or pride? Denial of the obvious? Whatever the cause, the cycle must somehow eventually be broken.

    In*san"i*ty (?), n. [L. insanitas unsoundness; cf. insania insanity, F. insanite.]


    The state of being insane; unsoundness or derangement of mind; madness; lunacy.

    All power of fancy overreason is a degree of insanity. Johnson.

    Without grace The heart's insanity admits no cure. Cowper.

    2. Law

    Such a mental condition, as, either from the existence of delusions, or from incapacity to distinguish between right and wrong, with regard to any matter under action, does away with individual responsibility.

    Syn>- Insanity, Lunacy, Madness, Derangement, Aliention, Aberration, Mania, Delirium, Frenzy, Monomania, Dementia. Insanity is the generic term for all such diseases; lunacy has now an equal extent of meaning, though once used to denote periodical insanity; madness has the same extent, though originally referring to the rage created by the disease; derangement, alienation, are popular terms for insanity; delirium, mania, and frenzy denote excited states of the disease; dementia denotes the loss of mental power by this means; monomania is insanity upon a single subject.


    © Webster 1913.

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