Ideas As Opiates

Album: The Hurting (1983)
  • Like the rest of the songs on The Hurting, this track was influenced by the work of Arthur Janov, an American psychotherapist who studied repressed childhood trauma and developed primal scream therapy. The duo's Roland Orzabal, who also sings lead on the song, borrowed the title from a chapter heading in Janov's 1980 book Prisoners of Pain. He explained in the remastered album's (1999) liner notes: "That's the chapter from Janov, and it's really a reference to people's mindsets, the way that the ego can suppress so much nasty information about oneself - the gentle way that the mind can fool oneself into thinking everything is great."

    Bandmate Curt Smith added: "It really was all about that kind of thing - the psychological answer to religion being the opiate of the masses, whereas we thought ideas were, more than anything else."
  • This was released as the B-side to "Mad World," which peaked at #3 in the UK.
  • Session musician Mel Collins (King Crimson, The Rolling Stones) plays sax on the track.
  • This was used in the 2006 comedy-drama Starter For 10, starring James McAvoy. It was also featured on the TV series The Americans in the 2018 episode "Rififi."


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