Little Baby Nothing

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

The band may have been seen as cross-dressing, eye-liner and lipstick wearing freaks in their early days, spouting political sleaze and dirty little punk songs, but it wasn’t until Little Baby Nothing that many of the reasons behind the sleaze and the look became clear. This was a feminist band, almost in militant fashion, not a band who simply dressed that way because they were hot enough to pull it off, not simply espousing and waxing lyrical on the struggles of women due to some designed outsider chic. This was a band who thoroughly despised male dominated culture and called it out for the systematic destruction and whoring of species that it was. Musically and lyrically one of the finest, and most pure in terms of its targeting from any Manics album, it’s clearly a high mark.

The band’s first duet, bringing on board ex Porn Star Traci Lords (after they couldn’t get Kylie Minogue) to perform vocal duties, the lyrics are poignant and potent and merge perfectly with the glossy 80s sheen of the sound. Bradfield tugs at all the strings with his performance, the melodies are gold throughout, and I adore the shift from the verse and chorus to the final section. It certainly comes across as cheesy in its sound now, but it doesn’t take long to look past that to find the honesty of the intent and the power of the music. For my money, it’s also (easily) the best video the band has ever made.

Misheard Lyrics (it feels somehow wrong doing this to what is one of the most gorgeous lyrics of all time, but there you go):

  1. Not allowed to connect you
  2. To steal frequent love
  3. Need to do long (?)
  4. Orderly behind his money
  5. Asking for condolerijusive (??) flowers
  6. Loveless labour
  7. Dress your life in loving
  8. Breaking your mind with Bobby Dom fertility (?)
  9. Mouths broken up, quenched to the last

Actual Lyrics:

  1. No-one likes looking at you
  2. To steal vacant love
  3. Need to belong
  4. All they leave behind is money
  5. Eyes, skin, bone, contour, language as a flower
  6. Loveless slavery
  7. Dress your life in loathing
  8. Breaking your mind with Barbie Doll futility
  9. Moths broken up, quenched at last

Little Baby Nothing: 4/Great (Album version)

The Girl Who Wanted To Be God

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

Perhaps the most Britpop of all of Everything Must Go, in terms of music at least, this jangling, chiming guitar based soft rock anthem isn’t plain enough to be boring, nor grand enough to be great. The production does its best to make us feel that this is something more special than it actually is, with grand sweeping strings blasting the chorus to the heavens, but the Happy Mondays drumming and the not quite powerful enough chorus keep it from reaching the highest heights. My favourite moment is middle line of ‘hold me  she said, love me to death’ as it breaks up the central melody. It is a good song, with typically strong lyrics, but looking at the album as a whole it feels like one that could have been replaced with one of the era’s stronger B Sides.

The Girl Who Wanted To Be God: 3/Good

Interiors

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

I can’t imagine many calling this out as a favourite from the band or from the album, given that it could easily get lost among the more well known singles, but this has always been a personal favourite of mine, and a much stronger song than say Kevin Carter or the title track. I love the non-intro, I love the stabbing guitars, I love the shouted, stuttered melodies, I love the warmth of the guitars in the pre-chorus and through the chorus, I love the twisting little middle section, but most of all I love Bradfield’s vocal – the way he unleashes that final ‘ say what you have’ – incredible.

Misheard Lyrics:

1. Say worry ’bout tomorrow

2. A beautiful landscape of damnation

Actual Lyrics:

1. Say where is the tomorrow

2. A beautiful landscape of your nation

Interiors: 4/Great

Ocean Spray

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

It takes a lot for a song to remain unique given the vastness of Know Your Enemy, but this one works and was strong enough to be a single too. Bradfield writes the lyrics to this one (for those who don’t know the band – 98% of the time Wire and Edwards write the lyrics and Bradfield and Moore write the music), a dedication to his mother who had just died, and ironically a more simple, more potent lyric than much of what Wire was able to write at the time. In the midst of all the political pissing and name-checking elsewhere on the album, this one reads like a very simple poem, rhyming words and all! Musically, it is terribly sad thanks to Bradfield’s tearjerking melodies plastered and drifting over easy listening acoustic guitars, Moore’s lonesome horn, and the occasional blast of electric in the chorus. There is anger and sadness here, regret and turmoil, and even some Japanese.

Misheard Lyrics: Oh, please stay away

Actual Lyrics: Oh, please stay awake

Ocean Spray: 4/Great