Electro-Shock Blues
by Eels

Album: Electro-Shock Blues (1998)

Songfacts®:

  • Liz, the sister of Eel's mainman Mark Everett, spent several years in and out of rehab and mental institutions before committing suicide in 1996. This song referred to one of her mental hospital stays when the doctors told her to write, "I am OK" a hundred times.
  • This was one of several tracks on the Electro-Shock Blues album where Everett reflected back on his sister. He told Q magazine (February 2008) that it was his way of giving Liz, who was always his biggest fan, a creative outlet: "It's like, here's the gift I can give her. It's too bad she couldn't do this for herself but I'm going to let her be an artist here. It's like putting a frame around her."
  • Everett recorded this album during a bleak time in his life. He had lost his only spouse and his mother was dying of lung cancer, so it was probably to be expected that much of the album deals with death and loss. After his mother passed away in 1998 Everett was left as the sole surviving member of his family (his father died of a heart attack in 1982). The tragedies didn't end there as one of his cousins, Jennifer, was a stewardess on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11.
  • Twenty years on from the release of Electro-Shock Blues, many people still define Mark Everett from the album's lyrical content. He admitted to NME in a 2018 interview to being irritated that people are hung up on this impression of him.

    "The one thing that I think is a recurring theme is the lazy headline journalism that 'this is the depressing band," Everett said. "That's completely missing the point, but I get it. You know, 'oh, Electro-Shock Blues is about his family dying – pass.' I get that kind of thinking, but for those that are willing to spend a little time with it, they're going to find out that it's the opposite. It's really the ultimate life-affirming message. Someone can go through all that and find the blue sky when the clouds break.

    He added: "You can't please everybody, so why try? If the kids like ice cream, you can't always give them ice cream."

Comments: 1

  • Elizabeth from West Bridgewater, MaA very beautiful song. I find it creative how the name of the song relates to Liz's mental state. She had schizophrenia and depression, which was what electo-shock therapy was used to cure.
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