An interestingly upbeat, mainly acoustic track right near the end of This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours, it’s one which easily gets lost in the catalogue. It feels summery and positive, and offers some respite from the previous few gloomy and experimental tracks. Lyrically it isn’t summery in the slightest, but with the swelling of strings, the liberal use of tambourine, the gentle melodies, and the considered build up to the chorus, it certainly comes across as a sweet little song.
The song placement on the album is interesting, coming after a series of incredibly doleful and solemn songs. The album almost feels like one of two halves – the first half being all singles and melody bait, while the second half would be much more experimental and downbeat if not for this and Nobody Loved You being more traditional. This feels like a breath of fresh air after a run of songs which, on the surface, feel mundane. While the whole album is string-laden, there are a couple of moments on this song where the band are fully indulged, stripping off and rubbing their nudey chests with as many violins as they can find – the lovely ending and a middle instrumental section where the band all swing together – depression never sounded so sweet.
The Story Of The Song: The Manics have sung about depression any number of times over the years – this is another entry in the canon, and one which namechecks Winston Churchill in the second verse. Churchill referred to his own depression as a ‘Black Dog’, and many poets and writers over the decades have used the same or similar terminology. There’s an air of inevitability in the lyrics – the Carlito’s Way line suggesting that it’s something which is with you until the end. Attempts to deal with the depression, both head on and by ignoring it, have been apparently futile as well as attempts to understand it, its origins, and when it will strike.
Misheard Lyrics: Yes my life is a compromise.
2. Like our leaders say.
3. Leave me there until I’m numb
4. My eyes are shattered
Actual Lyrics: Guess my life is a compromise.
2. Like Carlito’s Way.
3. Freeze me there until I’m numb
4. My eyes are shut tight.
Black Dog On My Shoulder: 3/Good
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