Yeah, they all betrayed you
The Love of Richard Nixon was a rather huge surprise to everyone. Yes, There By the Grace of God might have already hinted on a more electronic direction but no one was expecting something that was practically a synth pop song. Why do Sean’s drums sound so artificial? What’s with this weird James-multitracking? And speaking of James, where’s his guitar!?
I loved Nixon from ever since the first listen. I still love it. It’s sexy and seductive despite being cold and political. It’s dancey but not in an obvious way. Those chorus synths are amazing. And speaking of politics, it’s one of Wire’s best set of political lyrics. “A soundtrack to disillusion, hatred, love and never giving up” – death without assassination, Nixon’s entire legacy (including the few good things he did) wiped out and tarnished by the Watergate scandal.
But as much as I love the song, it’s quite easily the worst choice of a single in the Manics history. I don’t mean that it should have never been a single – it’s actually quite an obvious one. But a lead single? Never. It sure does showcase the new sound of Lifeblood but it showcases the extreme of the said sound instead of what the rest of the album represents. Add the fact that with 1985 you have the best comeback song ever made, a song loved even by the Lifeblood haters (I know, I can’t understand it either but there are such downright creepy people), born to be a lead single and uh, it’s not. Not even a single. The band’s later admitted that TLORN’s release was entirely the record label’s decision that they had nothing to say in. Or they couldn’t be arsed to say anything about it, rather.
And such is the bittersweet legacy of The Love of Richard Nixon. Amazing song but a constant reminder how fucked the promotion of Lifeblood was from the start.
The sleeve quotes for all the three formats were various Nixon campaign slogans: “Nixon’s the one!”, “Our nation needs Nixon!”. The video is a pretty intriguing one and actually quite cool. There’s something very creepy in those Nixon masks.