My smile as real as a hyena’s
It’s one of those tracks you either love or hate. Summery, crammed absolutely chock-full of instruments and background vocals, insanely upbeat, pretty much the Manics going Beach Boys. Completely random occurence on Know Your Enemy, a track that doesn’t even sound like it’s from the same sessions as the rest of the album. It’s garnered a bit of a hatedom around it. Predictably enough, I’m in love with it. Rather absurdly, it was the only song from Know Your Enemy that made it to the Forever Delayed greatest hits package, a reason I just can’t find any reason to in place of singles that actually represent the album’s sound well or aren’t hated by a lot of people.
My obsession with backing vocals of course is a part of it – I absolutely adore those verse line repetitions – but musically it’s sublime as well. The teeny-tiny guitar bit traveling under all the rest of the music, the utterly absurd synth solo and the upbeat yet strangely melancholic mixture in the music. I quite love the lyrics too – I remember reading somewhere once that is a track about religion in some way (hence the Dead Sea Scrolls references, “dependent on above” and such) but what way is rather vague.
The Avalanches remix deserves a special mention: it ups the summery quality of the track to 11 and turns the song into a beach party anthem. It’s hilarious, cheesy and oh so good. The band, and many fans, prefer it to the original version.
So Why So Sad was released alongside with Found That Soul as a double lead single (not a double a-side, mind you – both got individual singles!) and just like the song itself differs from the raunchy rocker Found That Soul like night and day, so do the videos. Where Found That Soul’s video was a simple low-key effect, So Why So Sad got an expensive, squeaky clean and shiny video. It’s not that bad, the actual idea is quite nice, but at the same time it’s completely unfitting to the band. Still, it contains the absolutely hilarious shots of the band in front of the paratroopers and bombings during the synth solo. It also contains a terribly annoying-looing kid who just barely misses getting squashed by a tank. Damn the kid’s luck.
The sleeve quote came from Kyffin Williams: “I love the autumn for its sense of melancholy seems to strike my need for sadness. There is poetry in the dying of the year and mystery as well.”