Jealously sows rejection with a kiss
The aching heart of Journal for Plague Lovers shows itself.
Everything starts very subtly, very calmly. Just James and his trusted acoustic guitar, a combo that has brought us many beautiful songs (as well as some forgettable b-sides). Despite its goofy name, This Joke Sport Severed would seem to continue this line.
And then the strings hit. My god do the strings hit.
Journal for Plague Lovers in general has some of the most stylish string sections in the whole Manic history. This time, instead of just being a higher pitch organ replacement, the strings are majestic, vibrant, living with the music. Elegant. The song gets going in general – Sean’s drum pattern here is brilliant – but it’s that hair-raisingly beautiful string section that really makes the song. And the moment when they really explode into the scene in the half-way instrumental break is one of the most beautiful Manics moments.
At three minutes This Joke Sport Severed is over painfully quickly but not because it finished too early – you’re simply left wanting more of the mournful elegance.
The demo for this song replaces the strings with a delicate piano. Doesn’t sounds as epic, but has a definite delicate beauty to it. Otherwise it’s quite an identical version.
The Patrick Wolf remix is Just as dramatic and epic as you would expect from a Patrick Wolf remix that’s titled ‘Love Letter to Richey remix’. It’s actually practically a cover rather than a remix, with Wolf taking care of all the vocal duties himself. The strings of the original version and the piano of the demo version create beauty in the background while hand-clappy beats drive the music forwards. It’s a mixture of elegant and groovy. The otherwise very cool remix is somewhat ruined by the end as the traditional Manicsian mood-breaking rockout finale cockup makes its remix debut.