Vein melter is a short story told in musical form by a genius. It is an insight into heroin abuse. It starts with the addict's heartbeat and a short, chirpy refrain which probably represents the addict's satisfaction at scoring. Then comes a clash - that is the hit. His heartbeat becomes louder and more pronounced now and we witness the effect the drug has on the user. The high is expressed by some of the most beautiful, exquisite jazz you will ever hear. It is poignant because the only way this person can experience beauty in his life is by using this drug. As the gorgeous high goes on however, the music becomes crazy and disjointed like the junkie's outlook on life, and then Hancock manages to express his pity and great sorrow for this person's plight. The high fades away as the effects of the drug wear off and harsh reality returns, the heartbeat returns to normal, leaving the tragic addict right back where he started. This incredible experience has been totally pointless. He is left with absolutely nothing, except a need for more.
Herbie Hancock is a grande master of his instrument. This brilliant composition is timeless, and on a par with works like Beethoven's piano sonata Op. 81 Les Adieux, which also tells a story through music.
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