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Song Stories

“For Free”

Meat Puppets | 1995

A scrap of backward-tape sound gives way to one of the Meat Puppets' more conventional vocal harmony-driven rockers on "For Free," which vaguely alludes to a battle for the future that's been won, though the band doesn't sound at all thrilled with the victory. The song's been interpreted as a lament for the death of Kurt Cobain, a friend of composer Curt Kirkwood. "The title says it all," Kirkwood said. "It's not really for Cobain, per se. I did it because I've known a lot of people who've killed themselves in the name of this garbage scene."

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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