Salt in the Wound
By: Beck Hansen

Written by: Beck Hansen

  1. Salt in the Wound (3:22)
    Available on Midnite Vultures and 3 other releases.
    Beck Hansen: Bass, Guitar, Keyboard / Synthesizer, Mix, Producer, Vocals
    Mickey Petralia: Mix, Producer
    Tony Hoffer: Mix, Producer
Salt in the Wound [Version (a)]:

I was born in a landslide in the jungle land
I can play a piano with a funeral hand
Ooh salt in the wound making me blue
Ooh salt in the wound, play me a tune, yeah

I worked on a railroad, I slept on a cot
If you got what it takes, they'll take what you got
Ooh salt in the wound making me blue
Ooh salt in the wound, play me a tune
Sha-la-la-la, sha-la-la-la, sha-la-la-la...

Out on the North Sea where the waters are wild
You wept like a mad dog, like a Rozell (?) child
Ooh salt in the wound making me blue
Ooh salt in the wound, play me a tune
Play me a tune, play me a tune, play me a tune
Sha-la-la-la, sha-la-la-la, sha-la-la-la...
The Song:

"Salt in the Wound" was a Midnite Vultures outtake, and ended up as a b-side to "Sexx Laws." The song immediately sounds like the Yardbirds or Rolling Stones - the great pop blues rock groups of the 1960s - with its repetitive, slightly awkward, guitar riff and blues-influenced lyrics.

Beck's lyrics rely on common blues images and phrases, but definitely with his own twists. At first listen, the words seem almost quick scribbles, but they succeed highly in creating a blues atmosphere.

The second verse further develops the blues struggles of the narrator, working on a railroad, sleeping on a cot, losing your just rewards. The chorus again just emphasizes pain ("salt in the wound making me blue").

The music leans back a bit towards pre-Mutations days in that Beck plays all the instruments on the track. His electric guitar riff is a bit sloppy, but Beck's never been a virtuoso, and it's still fun. The rest of the music is fairly simple and repetitive (eg. banging piano chords, the same bass riff over and over).  The song was never over-thought, and it's catchy as hell.

I would love for Beck to return to this song time on stage. It deserves more attention.

Played live 7 times:
Earliest known live version: March 20, 2000
Latest known live version: September 24, 2000

All of a sudden, out of near nowhere, Beck and his band played "Salt in the Wound" live on March 20 2000 in Stockholm.

Then it was not played for 5 months before being played again on August 11 2000 in Denmark. It must be a Scandinavian thing! Over the next 2 weeks though (the tail end of the Midnite Vultures tour), "Salt in the Wound" was semi-regularly included in the setlist.

The song was an excellent showcase for his band, especially Justin and Lyle (on bass and guitar).