I try and walk in a straight line
Gold Against the Soul is mainly cock rock, entertaining cock rock but still, it’s mainly a rather ridiculously masculine stadium-sized guitarwankfest that doesn’t really believe in such things as grace or subtlety. From Despair to Where is the exception, something that sounds a bit more like your standard Manics power rocker. You could have probably slotted this in Everything Must Go or something. It’s still big and rawr but it’s got a more heart to it y’know.
I’m relistening to From Despair to Where now as I write this and I seem to have forgotten how good this track is over time. I guess I sorta got overexposed by it or something at some point, I don’t know. But it’s a really damn well crafted piece of music. It’s the most tender moment of Gold Against the Soul, which doesn’t really mean tender per se but moreso “rocks with a bit more grace than the others”, with all the those sweet string sections and organs, subtle guitar licks and so forth. It’s a rather distinctly orchestrated song amongst all the relatively bare guitarmashing. And it’s really, really good. As the lead single from the album it also showcased the new lyrical direction the band took on the album, going slightly more introspective rather than cheap political shots. The opening lines are a MSP classic of sorts.
The video on the other hand goes a bit too much towards the rock excess a lot the music on Gold Against the Soul takes its power from. Chock-full of seeming metaphores that never seem to form anything coherent, you’ve got all the classics – groups of dogs, moody posing, a big mansion (late 80’s-early 90’s rock video staple) and, uh, a creepy as hell wooden statue and people with equally creepy masks. If there is some poetic sense to it, I’d love to know it. Shame the Forever Delayed DVD never came with any commentary. Ah well, at least there’s James’ in all his rugged handsomeness of the era and Sean being all cool as fuck and staring directly into your soul through those sunglasses.
I’ve always found those percussion on the backgrounds of the verses rather random and slightly hilarious.
“In this country people die emotionally at 21, maybe younger. My responsibility as an artist is to help them get past 21” goes the single sleeve quote, by John Cassavetes.