Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart

Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart: 4/great

It’s always been a mystery to me why the band never quite hit it off in America, at least from a purely musical perspective. The band released their first albums at the height of grunge and shared many similarities with the leading US guitar bands of the period. They were angry, introspective, sensitive, knew how to shred, and had a political and moral stance. Of course much of their politics was anti-american in some ways, or even (horror or horrors) Communist leaning. When you look back at what bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine were saying at their peak – they too were rallying against the right leaning US policies of the time, and their fans were loyal to the cause – all the more reason for a band like the Manics to be popular. But no singles were released, they rarely toured, and received little to no exposure. This second track from The Holy Bible is a lyrical mass of politics and morality, a literal barrage of words and references and name-checking that even the most ardent student will struggle to keep up with. Musically it has the militaristic core that runs through The Holy Bible, with machine gun drumming, off centre robotic guitars, vocals that sound like they’re screamed through a megaphone, and a shifting structure that feels like a chaotic, absurd blend of blues rock riffage and heavy metal thrashing.

Misheard Lyrics: 1. A messenger from Santander and napalm.

2. Grenade, a heetee (?), pole in Nick a rock you are!

3. Big Mac, smack, fix our knees

4. Killer Mexico

5. Yeah I do speak so much of the abyss

6. Come down Harlem

7. Morning fine groovy first coffee of the day

Actual Lyrics: 1.Images of perfection, suntan, and napalm

2. Grenada, Haiti, Poland, Nicuragua

3. Big Mac, Smack, Phoenix R

4. Cuba Mexica

5. Your idols speak so much of the abyss

6. Compton Harlem

7. Morning fine serve your first coffee of the day

Of Walking Abortion

I knew that someday I was gonna die, and I knew before I died two things would happen to me; that number one I would regret my entire life, and number two I would want to live my life over again‘.

The first song from The Holy Bible to offer an industrial tone, the savage guitars crunch and throb, drums smash down like hammers on steel, all manner of filters make the instruments sound mechanical and condensed while Bradfield sounds like a cyborg spinning out of control. This is heavy, dark stuff, unsurprisingly, with a chaotic mixture of lyrical brilliance with lyrical weirdness. It’s the first song that sounds evil on the album, as if it has taken on a life of its own and is coming after you, stalking, hunting. Opening with the above haunting quote (Hubert Selby Jr) about life, death, and regret, futility, apathy, the lyrics and music follow without looking back. The finger-pointing ending, which I believe was added by Nicky, has become a Manics moment – meme -mement? The band seemingly taking aim at, well, all of us, the monstrous humans we are, being responsible for all of the terrible shit in the world. Again Bradfield pulls every once of hatred and despair from the words, pumps them back through the music and unleashes a terrifying vocal performance, screaming to the pit of his soul with unfettered anguish and rage.

Misheard Lyrics:

  1. Obsidian’s blackest hole/a city is blackest hole/a city’s blackest hole
  2. The nation’s mouth wraps you inside
  3. Fucked up don’t know why you put it away
  4. Shut up! Shut up!
  5. Open black ground with tomorrow’s compass (?)
  6. So watch out girl and you expect your chores/so watch our car and you’ll expect no choice

Actual Lyrics:

  1. Acedia’s blackest hole
  2. The nation’s moral suicide
  3. Fucked up don’t know why you poor little boy
  4. Shalom! Shalom!
  5. Open black ruins a moral conscience
  6. So wash your car in your ‘x’ baseball shoes

Of Walking Abortion: 4/Great

Never Want Again

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

One of the earliest acoustic (semi) stylings from the band, this has always been a firm personal favourite, ever since I first stumbled upon it in my early downloading days.  It’s one you’ll never hear any other fans talk about but I loved it from my first listen. Opening with a comedy mis-start, followed by lovely, tender guitar riff, it gives way to a stomping beat, and a simply extraordinary Bradfield vocal. It’s all about the melodies, the ability of Bradfield and possibly no other singer alive to sing them, and some quite lovely harmonies too. The lyrics are fine, taking a break from the politics, but they remain firmly in the style of anthems with a rebellious stance. It’s not too clear what the band are angry about, but they sound so happy and comfortable being angry that you get swept along with the emotion and feel free to use the chorus in your own personal tirade. The brilliant guitar solo at the end isn’t really necessary, but I’m never going to turn down a guitar solo.

Never Want Again: 4/Great

Misheard Lyrics: 1. Burn ’em by our side

2. I saw the rain bleaching my whale

3. My dog gets sick of all its lice

4. Thrown a bone way outside

Actual Lyrics: 1. Burn on by our side

2. I saw the rain bleaching my way

3. My gut gets sick of all its lies

4. Thrown all hope way outside

Heydey Of The Blood

This B-Side from Indian Summer has some nice Beatles style call and repeat vocals, not something the band have really done before, but it’s all incredibly plain and plastic. Musically there is nothing of note in the first half and melodically it’s as uninspired as the band has ever been. There is an interesting, brief little guitar interlude in the second half, but rather than continue to something new, the song simply reverts to its original form and ends. Generic B Side pap.

Heyday Of The Blood: 2/Okay

Misheard Lyrics: Seek the opposition, for the misfits.

2. In armies they’re so time sure, they’re out in the end.

3. We built them all with fear.

Actual Lyrics: 1. Seek the opposition, for they are your best friends.

2. Enemies they sometimes go way out in the end.

3. We filled them all with fear.