Alkaline Trio write the songs every pissed-off teenager wishes he or she could write. Their lyrics combine the macabre imagery of the Misfits with the clever turns of phrases of Jawbreaker. Matt Skiba and crew aren’t ones to pull punches, and as a result, they've churned out some of the snottiest, most memorable lines in pop-punk history. Here, we celebrate some of the Chi-Town trio's sharpest barbs and count down the 10 Best Alkaline Trio Lyrics.
“I’ve got it now, a thorn in my side the size of a Cadillac / Drive it through, cause backin' up now would be next to impossible”
As is evident in our list of the Best Alkaline Trio Lyrics, the band enjoys a good metaphor or simile. Or in the case of No. 10 on our list, an over-exaggerated description like a thorn the size of a Cadillac. That's a pretty big thorn.
“Never had a drink that I didn't like / Got a taste of you, threw up all night”
Matt Skiba has admitted on numerous occasions that his songwriting has been heavily influenced by the band Jawbreaker and the lyrics of frontman Blake Schwarzenbach. This really bleeds through on No. 9 on our list of Best Alkaline Trio Lyrics, ‘Crawl,’ which combines the classic Jawbreaker elements of drinking and spiteful breakups that they made popular on songs like ‘Fireman’ (“If I was a vampire, I wouldn’t suck your blood”) and ‘Oyster’ (“I don't want to kiss right now / You're probably just what I need but I can't stand your mouth”).
“Tongue-tied, bleeding from your eyes / Even Christ himself would cringe at the sight of your scars / While you're counting sheep, I'll count my lucky stars / You were the last good thing I ever saw.”
Up next is another song showcasing the band’s love of gory imagery. This one in particular has a religious connotation to it and even seems to indirectly invoke the stigmata.
“Cause if a--holes could fly, this place would be busier than O'Hare”
Alkaline Trio may not have coined this phrase, but they definitely owned it by localizing it to their native Illinois. A little cheesy perhaps, it sounds like something you’d see on a novelty t-shirt. But they manage to pull it off.
“Most exciting thing I do, hang half way out a third floor window / Maybe throw lit cigarettes down / And maybe I'll catch fire.”
Alkaline Trio must have been incredibly fond of the imagery that comes with catching fire. It got prime placement in the chorus of the title track on the album, the cover of which features an orange, firey scene.
“You had time to waste and I'm not sorry / Such a basket case, hide the cutlery / I had time to kill, it's dead and buried / You've got guts to spill but no one trustworthy.”
Matt Skiba shows off his gift for gruesome double entendres all over No. 5 on our list of the Best Alkaline Trio Lyrics. Once you hear this one, it’s hard to hear the phrases “time to kill” and “spill your guts” the same way again.
“Crack my head open on your kitchen floor, prove to you that I have brains”
Of course, this lyric is a contradiction. Cracking your own head open is not the brightest way to prove your intelligence to someone. But for Alkaline Trio and their twisted sense of humor, it is.
“That’s it, we've had enough / Please turn that fu--ing radio off / Ain't nothing on the air waving the despair we feel / That’s it, we've had enough / Put ‘Walk Among Us’ on and turn it up / Ain't nothing on the air waving the hatred we feel”
Alkaline Trio know how to tickle their fans’ fancy for punk culture. In one chorus, they simultaneously flip off pop music and drop a Misfits reference. Instant punk classic.
“Remember when I said I love you? Well, forget it, I take it back. I was just a stupid kid back then.”
The chorus to ‘Stupid Kid’ is just about the meanest thing you can say to an ex. Spiteful? Yes. Juvenile? Yes. Relatable? Absolutely. It’s a lot more straightforward than much of the dark imagery usually found in Alkaline Trio’s songs but sometimes, the most cutting way to say something is to put it bluntly.
“Shaking like a dog sh--tin’ razor blades”
Although it's only seven words, the line that grabs No.1 on our list of the Best Alkaline Trio lyrics is still one of the most well-known song openers in pop-punk history. It paints a mental image, all right. Not a particularly pleasant one, but that’s probably what makes it so memorable. If you’re going to set a tone like that, you’d better have a chorus to back it up, which they do: “I wish you would take my radio to bathe with you / Plugged in and ready to fall.”