Every Time I Eat Vegetables It Makes Me Think Of You
The forgotten Ramones album track that resonated hard with this vegan
Ah, that classic trope: the vegan that got away. We’ve all got one. Perhaps you are one. But let’s step back a little. It’s 1983 and the Ramones have released their seventh studio album Subterranean Jungle to little acclaim. It never placed higher than number 83 in the charts and none of its singles troubled the top 100. The Ramones were at a stage of relative flux: many of them were dealing with addiction, their drummer Marky Ramone was fired during recording, and they felt that their sound had leaned too far towards pop in a largely futile attempt to garner radio play. This album was supposed to be a return to their harder punk roots, but even in the ensuing years, reception towards it remains mild.
Tucked right at the very end of the track list is a song with a goofy title that sounds like it should be a novelty throwaway: “Every Time I Eat Vegetables It Makes Me Think Of You.” However, with the simple stroke of its brief lyrics, it paints a surprisingly emotional story.
It opens with those thundering drums, instantly recognizable as part of the Ramones’ distinct sound — often to the point where it might take a minute to work out which Ramones song is actually playing — and compressed, almost muffled vocals. The narrator tells us about a friend he used to have, and then scoops us up into the bridge — “but they took her away, tossed her in the bin, now she’s hanging out in East Berlin,” and instead of lobbing us into the chorus, it then circles back into another verse. And gets a lot more specific — “he turned her into a head of lettuce, now she eats thorazine with her farina” — this refers to a medication commonly used to treat schizophrenia and manic-depression, and a very plain wheat porridge, in that order. These words somehow become even sadder dashed out over that relentless beat, so quickly that you can barely hear them, punctuated with the exuberant “uh-ooooh” at the end of the bridge. This is a…