Rock ‘n’ roll is our epiphany
There’s a string of femininity-inspired songs in the Manics catalogue and whilst they all have their own risks to slide into the rabbit hole of corny dodginess (Born a Girl being the only one to avoid it), Little Baby Nothing’s the only one that dives head first into the hole. And loves it.
It’s a pretty freaking cheesy track. “Men are shit” lyrics coming from a band composed of men, two of which liked to dress in make-up at the time, tingly klinky ballad piano and guest vocals from a Minnie Mouse-voiced porn star. The song’s pretty heavy on the sort 80’s power ballad composition, but that’s just the charm. It’s the whole point of Generation Terrorists – cheesy as fuck and loving it. You can’t help but singing along to the oo-oo-oohs or deny the simple greatness of those final outro verses and their singalong greatness.
The song was originally composed with Kylie Minogue guest-starring in mind but that didn’t end up happening so they got Traci Lords instead. Kylie did however perform the song with the band live once – hunt it down only if you have some sort of morbid curiosity towards it. I’m no Kylie hater by all means but bloody hell she murders the song.
Similarly regarding the song’s genesis, according to James in a 2010 radio interview a little bit of Suicide Alley eventually became a little bit of Little Baby Nothing. And blimey, just compare the melody in the verses of the former with the one from the chorus of the latter…
The video for the song, final single from Generation Terrorists, is a far better as a puddle of trivia rather than as an actual video. The band was bored of making videos so only James stars in it (looking all rough and gruff). The group of girls playing the instruments were apparently the band of a bunch of Manics fans (including the pop duo Shampoo). Traci Lords wasn’t available for shooting so they had to use a model. And the final result of the actual shooting is suitingly terribly corny but unlike the song, in a bad way. Lots of different sorts of women either portrayed as victims or strong and proud (and one weeping sadsack of a man) going with the whole praise feminine angle the song is about but it all ends up looking rather… well, corny. In a highschool politics kind of way.
Cover-wise this takes the ultimate prize for sheer whatthehellness: there is a J-Pop cover of this song. Thank you KOTOKO for giving us what is probably the most bizarrely random event that this band will ever have in their history, even if musically it’s actually fairly faithful to the original, just a bit more techno-pop-ified. And with tons of rather awkward English.
“The sleep of reason produces monsters”
-Francisco de Goya
“They don’t think they’re too tough or desperate. They know that the law always wins. They’ve been shot at before – but they do not ignore that death is the wages of sin”
And then there is a giganto-fuck massive quote on the sleeve of the Japanese single which you can read here cause I ain’t typing that here.