Radio Favorites – Novocaine for the Soul

As a record collector, I went out and hunted down a lot of my favorites but obviously came nowhere near getting them all. These are some of the favorites that I didn’t own at the time.

“Novocaine[1] for the Soul” is a song by the American alternative rock band Eels. It was released as the lead single from their debut album, “Beautiful Freak,” on February 3, 1996. The song was written by Eels’ frontman Mark Oliver Everett, also known as E or Eels E, and it quickly gained recognition for its distinctive sound and lyrics.

“Novocaine for the Soul” features a unique blend of rock, pop, and electronica elements, characterized by its melancholic, yet catchy melody and E’s distinctively raspy and emotive vocal delivery.

The song’s lyrics convey a sense of numbness and disconnection, with the title referencing novocaine, a local anesthetic often used in dentistry, as a metaphor for emotional anesthesia. Discussing the song’s subject matter in 1996, Eels frontman E said, “Part of my problem is with intimacy.

‘Novocaine for the Soul’ sounds detached because it’s about detachment. That’s what I think is so great about that song, and on that level I think it’s almost genius. It’s detachment personified. I’m singing about numbness and I’m numb. It’s about having too much feeling.”

  • Butch – drums, backing vocals, production, engineering
  • E – vocals, guitar, Wurlitzer electric piano, production, engineering
  • Tommy Walter – bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Jon Brion – guitar, trombone, Chamberlin
  • Mark Goldenberg – guitar, keyboards, production, engineering
  • Jim Jacobsen – keyboards, loops, engineering

“Novocaine for the Soul” brought Eels international success, most notably in the United Kingdom, where it hit number 10 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1997. It also hit number one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart

for two weeks in October 1996, and remained on the chart for 25 weeks. The song was featured in the television shows Trigger Happy TV, My Mad Fat Diary, and Five Bedrooms, the films Berlin Blues, Mean Creek and Dream for an Insomniac, and a trailer for the 2001 film Novocaine. The music video was directed by Mark Romanek and features E and the other band members suspended on wires, making them appear to be flying.

Novocaine For The Soul - Eels

Life is hard
And so am I
You'd better give me something
So I don't die
Novocaine for the soul
Before I sputter out
Before I sputter out

Life is white
And I am black
Jesus and his lawyer
Are coming back
Oh my darling
Will you be here
Before I sputter out
Before I sputter out
Before I sputter out

Guess who's living here with the great undead
This paint by numbers life is fucking with my head, once again

Life is good
And I feel great
'Cause mother says I was
A great mistake
Novocaine for the soul
You'd better give me something to fill the hole
Before I sputter out
Before I sputter out
Before I sputter out
Before I sputter out

  1. Novocaine, also known as novocain or procaine, is a local anesthetic medication used to temporarily numb a specific area of the body, typically during medical or dental procedures to reduce pain and discomfort. It works by blocking the transmission of nerve signals in the region where it is applied, thus preventing the sensation of pain. Novocaine was initially introduced in the early 20th century and played a significant role in the field of anesthesia. While it has been largely replaced by more modern and effective local anesthetics, it remains a recognizable term associated with pain relief and anesthesia. [Back]

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Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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