Tonight we beg the question
Journal for Plague Lovers has no official singles but Jackie Collins Existential Question Time practically is one. It was chosen as a promo song to do radio rounds (it even had a word edit with the “fucks” replaced with “beds”) and it’s got a music video: a laughably low-budget performance clip interspersed with Richey clips, which kinda fits the album in some way even if it’s a tad… silly.
Jackie Collins is the first proper sign on JFPL that those who expected another The Holy Bible after the news of Richey’s lyrical re-appearance were way wrong in their assumptions. Instead JC showcases the album’s playfulness: I don’t think any of us expected an oddly clear Richey lyric to be accompanied by something so… poppy. JC is upbeat and airy, driven by a damn gorgeous and beautifully ringing guitar riff. It’s even outright beautiful at times. The “oh mommy, what’s a Sex Pistol?” line that makes up the chorus is surrounded by a pretty, simple pattern that supports the naïvety of the lyric. In other words, it’s no wonder it’s the promo song.
Aaaaand then about 40 seconds before the end the song randomly turns into a shreakyshouty ragefit that comes from nowhere and dissolves as quickly as it appeared. Which is brilliant.
Jackie Collins is essentially the musically playful and giddy nature of the entire album condensed into two and a half minutes.
The Saint Etienne remix is practically a cover rather than a remix. No trace of the original vocals are found, instead Sarah Cracknell sings the entire song herself. The melody and pattern stay true to the original but it’s all been saintetiennefied, all cute jangles and 60’s tweeness. It’s all very cute and cuddly.