You cover illness with flowers and flowers die
Bag Lady’s a good track. I can’t deny that. It’s the most The Holy Bible-esque song on Journal. Jagged, stabby guitar lines, JDB’s aggressive vocal tone, dark and frustrated mood, etc, even if the chorus is much more modern Manics kind of stuff. That’s also probably a reason why it’s the hidden track on Journal for Plague Lovers – the only moment on the album that’s genuinely like The Holy Bible, an album where Journal would constantly be compared to, is hidden away rather than showcased openly. And hey, it’s nice that they finally have a hidden track that’s actually a song of their own rather than a cover.
But it’s just in the completely wrong place. William’s Last Words finishes the album in a very heartstring-tugging, calm and beautiful way and that would have been the perfect closure statement for Journal. Instead, the actual closing track proper ends up being Bag Lady, a song that not only doesn’t fit at all as any sort of a closing track but also completely wrecks the mood that William left behind.
Sod you, Bag Lady. I can’t hate you but dammit, you’re stuck somewhere you don’t belong.
The Jonathan Krisp remix completely changes the track, nary a trace from the guitar fury of the original is audible on the upbeatingly hopping and popping electro treatment. The chorus vocals pop up here and there and sure there’s some guitar sample, but otherwise it’s something completely different. And it’s something quite cool too. Not amazing by any means but there’s something very cool in its insanely busy soundworld, madly jumping with little beats and squeaky synths. Would make a really good song, even if not one belonging to the Manics catalogue, in its own right.