Knockin’ Round the Zoo by James Taylor

This week’s Song of the Week was recommended by MIA staff Miranda Spencer: “This 1968 song tells of Taylor’s inpatient stay as a young adult at the MacLean psychiatric hospital near Boston– a topic about which few pop songs have ever been written, as far as I know. Catchy, sarcastic, and unnerving, it uses a zoo metaphor to portray how it feels to be incarcerated: like a caged animal. Besides describing the routines there, Taylor notes the mutual suspicion between the staff and patients like himself. (He talks more about this period of his life in his excellent Audible Original podcast, “Break Shot: My First 21 Years.“)

-Miranda Spencer


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.