Institutionalized (3:49)

Cover of Suicidal Tendencies

From Suicidal Tendencies and 21 other releases

“Institutionalized” is a song penned by frontman Mike Muir for Suicidal Tendencies’ 1983 self-titled debut album. It is often classified as the band’s signature song and would be re-recorded for the album Still Cyco After All These Years ten years later. The 1993 version was nominated for the Grammy for Best Metal Performance in 1994.
The song follows “Mike”, presumably a teenage Mike Muir, through a series of social conflicts with friends and, more significantly, parents. The lyrics in the verses are not sung, but spoken in a run-on sentence style. The lyrics are complemented by the lead guitar, which is subdued at the start of the verses, but becomes more frantic and powerful with the protagonist’s confrontations and emotional outbursts, mainly based on a heavy, funk-influenced riff that increases in speed several sections before each chorus. This is one of the few examples of funk influence in the band’s music before the entrance of bassist Robert Trujillo, the member who introduced the genre to the band with the recording of Lights…Camera…Revolution!.
Although “Institutionalized” was never a hit in the charts, it was the first hardcore punk and thrash metal song to receive significant airplay on MTV and is considered to be one of the songs that defines both genres. Tom Araya of the band Slayer appears in the video, along with actors Jack Nance and Mary Woronov.


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