Special Cases was probably the easiest and quickest song recorded for 100th Window. In terms of message it was quite simple and direct, about looking and observing the fragility of world and how chaotic somethings are and finding someone among all this to trust and empathize with. Many people interpret this message as reflecting upon the state of the world was at the time it was written in 2002 with the impending war in Iraq and the uncertainty surrounding it.
The strings for the song were recorded by a 50 piece orchestra in June 2002 at Sony Studios in London,UK.
When Special Cases was being made, it was earmarked from the beginning as being a potential single and would eventually end up being the first single release from 100th window and used to extensively promote the album. Before this though, 3D wished that A Prayer For England would be the first single release from 100th Window, however Virgin Records, wanted Special Cases to be the lead-off single, eventually persuading 3D to launch with Special Cases, leaving A Prayer For England as a possible second or third single release, that in hindsight would never happen.
Special Cases was first played live at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia on the 11th March 2003. It was played continuously during the first half of the tour but gradually saw less and less appearances live, until the end of the 2003 tour where it was omitted entirely. The violin sections of the song were played live on stage by violinist Lucy Wilkins.
Sinead O’ Connor herself only did live vocals on this song a total of five times at shows in Glasgow and Manchester, UK during April 2003. All other live renditions of Special Cases feature Dot Allison substituting for Sinead O’ Connor’s absence. It has not been played since the 2003 tour.
Akufen Remix – A remix by Akufen AKA Marc Leclair, a Canadian musician whose music is often described as being minimal techno or microhouse. Included on all single releases. This remix was also used in the Nick Knight directed video featuring a flower being blown apart in slow motion by a bullet.
Luomo’s Casing – A remix by Finnish electronic musician Luomo AKA Vladislav Delay renowned for his glitch and ambient take on house music. Included only on the vinyl release (both retail and promo), with one exception being a very rare CD-R promo.
Radio Edit – A truncated version of the song for radio playback. Included on all single and promo releases.
3D on the initial recording of Special Cases – “It was one of the easiest songs that happened on this album because it was very direct and simple and very quick and when we played it for Sinead she just went ‘Yeah I really love that I want to do something with that’ and she just wrote a song really quickly and it all just happened over night compared to the other songs” [100th Window Interview Disc - December 2002]
3D on Special Cases – “It is about suddenly feeling happy and lucky that your with someone you can believe in and trust. It’s that simple and direct” [100th Window Interview Disc - December 2002]
Don’t tell your man what he don’t do right.Nor tell him all the things that make you cry. But check yourself for your own shit. And don’t be making out like it’s all his. Take a look around the world. You see such bad things happening. There are many good men. Ask yourself is he one of them. The deadliest of sin is pride. Make you feel like you’re always right. But they’re always two sides. It takes two to make love, two to make a life. Take a look around the world. You see such mad things happening. There are few good men. Thank your lucky stars that he’s one of them.
Much of the imagery in this video was not actually filmed specifically for the video but was culled from old documentary archives and stitched together to form a cohesive story. Only the segment in the middle of the video featuring the two fully grown genetically enhanced humans was filmed just for the video.
Two different versions of this video exist, even though both are basically the same just one is shown in reverse order. The first video is called Version 1 (AKA Boy Video – which focuses mostly on the male clone in the story) and the second is Version 2 (AKA Girl Video – which focuses mostly on the female clone in the story). The promo video details (in the above section) are identical for both videos. The Version 1 video was typically the version which was shown the most on music channels when Special Cases was being promoted.
Quotes About The Video
3D on the meaning behind the video for Special Cases – “SPECIAL CASES VIDEO IS PRESENTED AS A COORPORATE[SIK]VIDEO-PREVIEWING THE POTTED LIFE AND LOVE? OF A CLONED HUMAN CLIENT/PATIENT” [Massive Attack Forum - January 2003]
NME Magazine Review
The 2nd Alternative Promo Video Known As The “Girl Version”
Interview Clip With 3D From The 100th Window EPK
Promo Video Shot By Nick Knight Of SHOWStudio Featuring the Afuken Remix
Audience Shot Footage From Greece Show 2003