SUICIDAL TENDENCIES - INSTITUTIONALIZED

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Suicidal Tendencies is the eponymous debut album by the band Suicidal Tendencies, released in 1983 on Frontier Records. It became one of the best-selling hardcore rock albums at the time and launched the band into its future success.

Included on the album is "Institutionalized", possibly the band's most popular song after two decades. In the song, the narrator describes how, despite his claims to the contrary, his overbearing parents suspect he is using drugs and verging on a nervous breakdown. The song ends with them finally deciding to send him to a mental institution.

Critic Ira Robbins writes that "Half-sung, half-recited and built on repeated sudden tempo changes, 'Institutionalized' is a unique, devastating centerpiece. One of the era's quintessential expressions of teen dislocation, it converts generation gap misunderstandings into a complete communications breakdown, encapsulating all the punk sociology of such films as Repo Man and Suburbia in four minutes."

The music video for "Institutionalized" was one of the first hardcore punk videos to receive substantial airplay on MTV, and the single was also used in the Emilio Estevez cult classic movie Repo Man and an episode for the hit TV show Miami Vice (which included a cameo appearance by the group).

"Institutionalized" is referenced in the Sage Francis song "Slow Down Gandhi" in the line "It's death penalty vs. suicidal tendencies / All I wanted was a fucking Pepsi / Institution / Making you think you're crazy is a billion dollar industry." Limp Bizkit also referenced it in the song "Stuck" with the lines "All I wanted was a Pepsi, just one Pepsi. So far from suicidal but still I get them tendencies bringing back the memories that I really miss."

"Institutionalized" is featured in the game Guitar Hero II for the Playstation 2 and Xbox 360 as a playable song.

7 comments

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