I’m happy being sad
Nicky Wire is an amazing backing vocalist.
Nicky’s singing voice is pretty much a love it or hate it affair. He can’t sing, that’s a fact. From the technical point of view anyway. His voice has all manners of problems and for some his solo songs are painful to hear. Not for me, I love the guy’s voice. The amateurishness is a part of its charm.
But my main point is that he’s an amazing backing vocalist and criminally underused in such a part (even when he does it, he’s often mixed very low and live he’s practically unaudible). His melody-free, rough, deep voice contrasts massively with James’ singing. These two completely different voices working perfectly is excellent. Nicky’s voice provides a fantastic backing to James, a deeper and darker version that adds additional power into the words when used.
My Little Empire’s greatest parts are Nicky’s vocals. They’re not very high in the mix but they’re very audible. He sings with James almost throughout the track – fittingly, as it’s a very personal lyric to Wire. The song’s dark, funereal mood (strengthened by the mournful cello) gains additional depth from Nicky’s dark, grim murmurs under James’ softer tone.
It’s gorgeous, man.