Tuesday night, as blooming flowers filled the spring air with a heady fragrance, Rocks Off hung a wreath made of empty insect repellent cans on our door, and gently tucked our young daughter in with mosquito netting in order to ensure Santa Carrier wouldn't visit her with his magic bag of plague.
Ahhh, is there any holiday quite like World Malaria Day?
George W. Bush decided that the United States needed to get more involved in the fight against malaria in 2007, and holy shit was he right. Despite the disease's centuries-old history of pwning mankind with coma and death, there is still no vaccine available, and 3,000 children a day die from the disease.
Typically it's spread by mosquitoes, and the best way to combat the spread of the disease is through distribution of anti-insect nettings to protect sleepers, and nuking the ever-loving hell out of the standing-water pools where insects lay their eggs.
So, to show our solidarity with W. in the fight against malaria, we've dedicated this week's playlist to songs named for or about malaria. The ex-prez fights the fight, and we provide the soundtrack!
L.A. Guns, "Malaria": Always open with the L.A. Guns if you have the option. Of all the hair-metal acts, L.A. Guns always seemed to get the most undeserved of shafts. That is some seriously heavy shit on that there track, and though the song could be about a girl, we prefer to imagine it as an ode to a feminine anthropomorphic personification of the disease itself.
Alice in Chains, "Rooster": It's clear that the experiences of Jerry Cantrell's father in the Vietnam War affected him a great deal. "Rooster" is supposed to be sung from Jerry Sr.'s point of view; at one point he mentions having taken his "anti-mosquito pills," a clear reference to antimalarial medications that were handed out to soldiers in the conflict.
Malaria was a huge problem for our troops. There were 40,000 cases of malaria between 1965 and 1970, including almost 80 deaths.
Spencer Kingman, "Vietnam Malaria Nostalgia": Don't let the lighthearted tone fool you. Many cases of dementia in Vietnam veterans that were thought to be PTSD were actually caused by brain damage from cerebral malaria. Horrific hallucinations were one of the more unfortunate symptoms of the disease, and a close listen to the manic and bizarre lyrics Kingman is laying down can indicate nothing but the troubled memories of fevered madness caught from a bite in the conflict.
Shriekback, "Malaria": With a touch more tortured artist in their gimmick, Shriekback might be the band out there doing David Fincher soundtracks instead of Reznor. Maybe not, they always did do just a little bit too much dancey nonsense to pull off the appropriate depth.
Fun as hell, though. No idea what in the world "Malaria" is about, but it's good and funky. That's a custom-made version done by a fan for Rock Band 3. We wouldn't usually include such a thing on here, but we're really impressed someone took such time on a song that wasn't "Nemesis."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Protector, "Mental Malaria": Since we turned side two of the playlist into an ode to the delirium caused by malaria, we'll end it on a completely mind-blasting note. We don't know if Protector is singing about a fictional attack on sanity that plays out like a malarial infection, or if they are just laying out the progression of the disease in psychosis form.
Regardless, this is the sound of a world suffering. You can help fight the spread of malaria here.