1001 Songs Challenge,  1990s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #764: Pretend We’re Dead (1992)

On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.

My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.

I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.

So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…


L7 – Pretend We’re Dead (1992)

Pretend We’re Dead

“Pretend We’re Dead” is a 1992 song by grunge band L7, from the album Bricks Are Heavy . It was written by Donita Sparks. It was the first single from Bricks Are Heavy and achieved moderate international success. It spent 20 weeks on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks, peaking at #8.


Lyrics (via Genius)


We’re staying in the US and remaining in California, dear reader, so it’s been nice to unwind a bit and not be on a plane. Formed in 1985 L7 were an all-female group that specialised in grunge and hard rock. When we join them in 1992 L7 have released their third album, Bricks Are Heavy, and 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Pretend We’re Dead.

Written by Donita Sparks, Pretend We’re Dead began life as a means of coping with a difficult breakup. Sparks coined the title phrase but felt it was too dark for a love song and instead the idea was extended into a social commentary on the US under Ronald Reagan and George Bush which ran from 1981 to 1989 after which George Bush then became the new US president. The song calls on those who are disillusioned by this Republican government to pretend to be dead and that way one can live without scrutiny or concern, just be at one with themselves and imagine they are not subservient to the government.

All girl bands are a common thing these days and rightly so but going back to the 1980s this sadly wasn’t as common as it should have been. It is refreshing to see women taking on the likes of grunge and hard rock and L7 pull out all the stops here with Pretend We’re Dead. In 2001 the group announced that they were going on hiatus and gave no indication of when they would return or even if they would. In the end, it was 2014 when they made a new appearance and have stayed together at present.


Favourite songs so far:

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)

The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)

The Doors – The End (1967)

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)

Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)

Ultravox – Vienna (1980)

The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? (1984)

Tracy Chapman – Fast Car (1988)

U2 – One (1991)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

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