“Cough Syrup” was written by Rock, Alternative group, Young the Giants in 2008 and appeared on their EP called “Shake My Hand”. In the infamous hit show, “Glee”, Darren Chris, who played former Warbler, Blaine Anderson, sings a cover of “Cough Syrup”. The song is sung on “Glee’s” third season, titled, “On My Way.” In this cover, Blain sings during an emotional scene of a suicide attempt. Using this song for this scene draws attention to suicide awareness, cyberbullying, and mental health. Young the Giants wrote this song as a way of expressing their displacement for Orange County.

“Life’s too short to even care at all, woa-oh-oh”

This is the first line of the song. David Karofsky, who plays an alpha football player has been tormenting and bullying one of the main characters, Kurt Hummel. Karofsky and the rest of the football team bullied Kurt for being openly gay. We then discover the reasoning behind David’s bullying: he too is gay and is ashamed. After a series of events, Kurt helps him with self-acceptance. David transfers schools finally feeling free just to be outed and bullied by his new football team. The team “greets” him by writing the derogatory term for gay on his locker. The locker scene is when “Cough Syrup” starts. We follow David home where he goes onto his computer and sees a variety of comments. All these comments calling him names and threatening him. This line is significant because it immediately grabs our attention to what the entire song is going to be about. David reformed himself at his old HS only to be bullied at his new HS.

“A wet world aches for a beat of a drum, oh-woah-oh, oh”

As the song progresses, we see David having a mental breakdown. Upset and furious with everyone and himself, he can’t help but cry and throw his belongings. “A wet world aches for a beat of a drum”, I interpret in the context of this scene, as David in tears looking for someone to hold his hand and tell him everything is going to be ok. The “beat of the drum” representing a heart; a pure heart.

The genre of the song is considered alternative/indie rock. With the guitar, drums, and subtle violins, the tone of the song is not very upbeat but very powerful in its use of vocals and instrumentals. The tone of the song is dreary as it is meant to show the pain that the musicians are feeling. Darren starts off the song softly, but with the progression of David’s breakdown, he starts to sing with more “oomph”.

“I’m waiting for this cough syrup to come down”

Cough syrup is a metaphor for temporary release. Looking around for some temporary cure from the state of mind that you are in. Unable to find some permanent cure, we look for something to ease the pain for a few hours. Continuing with the story, David, in a rush of emotions, goes into his closest and lays out a suit. He lays on the bed struggling with his thoughts. The show pans back and forth from Blaine’s intense performance on stage to David in his room.

“And so now I run to the things they said could restore me. Restore life the way it should be”

The pain is unbearable. He can’t escape the torment from online, school, and the thoughts in his head. The only way for the pain to subside is to end his life.