Ready For Drowning

Ready For Drowning: 4/Great

Probably my favourite song from This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours, it seemed to takes years for fans in general and the band itself to catch up to the fact that this is a flawless song. For years after the release I would talk about how much I loved this song, while people I spoke to who owned the album couldn’t even remember it. During particular hyperbolic moments, I even list this as one of the best songs ever written, mentioning its perfect cyclical construction which ends like it begins, how it has a wonderfully defined beginning, middle, end, how it takes many facets of the band’s psyche and style and spills them, and how it’s melodies, guitars, and vocals are nigh on impossible to top. That whistle sound in the intro, followed by acoustics, followed by organ, followed by electric blast – perfection; the bizarre piano led verses, the story-telling lyrics unlike anything else the band has done, the build up to the chorus, the explosive tumbling guitar riff, and the chorus itself – perfection; the soundbite in the instrumental section – perfection; and the way the harmonies all swirl and come together before returning to the beginning for its end – it is in my mind easily one of the greatest songs ever written. It’s also completely heartbreaking. I’ve been lucky enough to see the band play it live a few times, now that they seem to realize what a gift it is.

Misheard Lyrics: Said he hurt it in a taxi/Seetee headed in a taxi

2: Mustafa had it in muesli

3: I’d go to pat a gnome, yeah

Actual Lyrics: Said he’d heard it in a taxi

2: Must have had him in my mercy

3: I’d go to Patagonia

The Story Behind The Song (I’m going to have to go back and update all my Manics posts with this, aren’t I?): A village in Wales (Capel Celyn) was completely flooded on command by the Government, to provide water for Liverpool (in England). Thanks to a sneaky bill via an Act Of Parliament, which overrode all Welsh legality and authority, the bill was passed and the village was flooded. All buildings, homes, and farms were destroyed, ignoring the hundreds of years of history and the pleas of the inhabitants. 

I’m Not Working

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

I drift between liking this one slightly more than it sounds like I do, but it’s not one I can truly like. By the time TIMTTMY was released, I believed I had found my new Nirvana – a band that both rocked fiercely, but were also intelligent and sensitive. Everything Must Go was the first album I bought from them, and had since gone back to buy their previous albums by the time the fifth was released. I can’t remember everything about my first listen, but I do remember quite a few of the songs feeling weak and lifeless, this being one of those. Now, I can see what the band are going for here, but it still doesn’t make for an interesting listen in most cases, and is deathly dreary. I think the lyrics are best part, but musically it is as slow as mud and while Bradfield gives his all, he can’t save it from being a descent into stupor. I appreciate the band going for a new, experimental sound, and for perfectly encapsulating what it sounds like to be aimless in thought and energy, but it’s still a chore to get through.

I’m Not Working: 2/Okay

Misheard Lyrics: N/A

The Everlasting

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

I’ve never understood the hate this one gets, particularly from longstanding fans of the band. Perhaps it’s because it’s so overtly a ballad in sound, perhaps it’s because it revels in its own defeatism, perhaps its because there isn’t a trace of punk either in sound or attitude. What it is though is one of the most beautiful, tortured ballads ever written, the admission of a band who set out to conquer the world that they failed utterly (at least they believed they did) and that they lost so much along the way. It’s the most honest 6 minutes of tragedy you’re ever likely to hear, all played to gorgeous strings, broken up guitars, gut-wrenching melodies, and one of my all time favourite guitar solos – the stretched, extended notes fish-hooking into your soul and tearing for all they’re worth. A brutal and brilliant way to open the album.


The Everlasting: 4/Great

Misheard Lyrics: All you are old I hear you say

Actual Lyrics: Oh you’re old I hear you say

If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

How to follow up the mammoth unexpected success of your last album? Release your biggest song? This single became the band’s first UK number 1, and remains their only single released in the US. Based around the idealism of young (Welsh) volunteers who signed up to fight with the rebels in the Spanish Civil War, the song has since been used for any number of causes, ironic, apt, or otherwise. With powerful, poetic, literary lyrics it is one of those songs it was always amusing to see people with barely a thought in their head singing along too, especially when it was released. The song is so effortlessly catchy that everyone gets swept along with it’s melancholy verse, string-drenched chorus, and it still holds probably the finest example of the Manics ‘ooh and aahs’ trademark thanks to that extended ending.


If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next: 4/Great

Misheard Lyric: Hosing your hair today/but I am past a feast

Actual Lyric: Holes in your today/but I’m a pacifist

This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours

Having established themselves as one of Britain’s biggest bands, the Manics 5th album was highly anticipated. Not only did they have to follow up their most successful album, they had to do it completely free of Richey’s input. It is an album of two halves- the first being commercial and containing the singles (including their first number 1) while the second is a much more downbeat and experimental affair. Mostly gone are the big guitars and rock sound, replaced by pianos, strings, and a more gloomy tone.  This second half is mostly dismissed by fans, but on closer inspection it contains some of Nicky’s most personal work. It must be applauded for the fact that the band were not simply trying to release another Everything Must Go, and trying new sounds and ideas. The first 6 songs are classic hitmaking Manics- catchy melodies, big choruses, and other loveliness.  A mixed bunch then, but stronger than the next album.

Songs coming soon…