Shihad might not be known to many outside of Australia and New Zealand, but in their home country, they’re regarded as one of the best rock groups to have ever existed. After forming in New Zealand in 1988, the group quickly started recording music, releasing their first record, Churn, in 1993. By the time 1999 rolled around, they were ready to release their fourth record, the highly successful The General Electric. That is where today’s song, ‘My Mind’s Sedate’, comes from.
From the start, it looked as though The General Electric was going to be a huge hit. Shihad had been gaining momentum in their popularity, and they had managed to score Garth “GGGarth” Richardson as the record’s producer. GGGarth had worked with noted bands such as Rage Against The Machine, L7, and The Jesus Lizard previously, so the group were in good hand’s.
For people buying the record and pressing play, the record was bound to take them by surprise. Following the slow burning ‘Intro’ track, the record truly kicked off with ‘My Mind’s Sedate’. An ode to cynicism towards the status quo, ‘My Mind’s Sedate’ had all the makings of an instant classic. With a powerful lead line, feisty instrumentation, and a brilliant chorus, the group were always going to be seeing success with this one.
As to the song’s meaning, frontman Jon Toogood said of the song at the time of it’s release; “That’s one of the more cynical moments of the album. It came from sitting around watching TV with my girlfriend and thinking that we could be doing so much more with our lives. That to me is the most hysterical ‘fuck you’ to the way the system is at the moment. It’s funny but mean at the same time.”
In fact, one could almost view this song as a continuation of the feelings of isolation that were held strongly in the ’90s. Whether it be from the stark anthem of desolation that came by way of Radiohead’s ‘Fitter Happier‘, or whether it be from the famous ‘choose life’ speech from Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting, the decade was slowly working at consolidating all these feelings of isolation, dread, and anti-consumerism. While ‘My Mind’s Sedate’ is more of a playful continuation of this theme, it’s still apparent, and it’s very easy to see the frustration present in the song, though the song almost manages to serve as catharsis of sorts.
It’s also worth noting that for today’s song, I’ve taken a little bit of a liberty here. If you’re to listen to it below, you’re first going to hear the track ‘Intro’ which segues into ‘My Mind’s Sedate’. Namely because I feel it flows much better this way.