I’ve got to stop smiling
One really wouldn’t expect this on This Is My Truth. Amongst an album full of introspective, melancholy mood-mellowers, you’ve got this extremely outrospective stadium rock anthem made to make the crowd jump.
It’s not jarring in the slightest however. For one, it doesn’t break the mood. It might sound a bit optimistic and it’s certainly far more lively than most other tracks on the album, but in its heart it’s a bitter and enraged song. The massive guitarwalls act as a great contrast to the rest of the album and since it’s introduced so early on, it doesn’t break the flow in any way. It’s still stylistically a bit off the mark with its slightly barer sound, but its general quality makes you forgive that. The fact that it’s a very bitter song no matter how you interpret it adds to it – you can either see it as something about a broken relationship or, more accurately and factually, about Wire’s dislike for touring.
Favourite musical details: the drum machine loop sampled from a pinball machine; the little bass foolarounds in the verses; the instantly recognisable trademark-Bradfield riff in the verses.
The David Holmes Joyful Racket remix is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s joyful and it’s a bit perkier in its sound, very airy and summery. Even the chorus breakdown sounds… breezy. The Mogwai remix on the other hand is the complete opposite. Sleepy, drowsy. Both are some of the more memorable Manics remixes.
The sleeve quotes: “Art is a lie that helps us understand the truth” from Pablo Picasso and “Acting is bad for the mental health. I can’t take it anymore. This has got to stop” from Anthony Hopkins.
The video for the song is a fairly simple performance video but a good one, flicking between happysunny verses and the angry choruses where the room shakes and storms flails outside. Some bunnies and even a few cartoon birds appear to annoy Wire on the second verse. It’s good fun. Unfortunately it’s not on Youtube (well I can’t see it anyway) so have the excellent Manic Millennium performance that can also be found on the Pedestal single.