This is as good as it gets
An oddity in the Manics catalogue because of its lyrical style. Rather than being just observing something or voicing an opinion on something, like every single other Manics song, Hibernation is a story. A tale of loveless marriage that both parties have accepted and just go on with their lives, neutrally living together without any big regrets – accepting that this is just how things go and you can’t change it anymore. It’s actually such an oddity in the Manics catalogue lyrically that sometimes I wonder if either of the band’s lyricsmiths at the time even wrote it. It’s got that Richey-tone to it though, that curious examination of humanity’s emotional facades.
To back the whole thing up, you’ve got a very sentimentally touching acoustic backing. The whole music has a soft, heartfelt tone to it. James delivers the lyrics in a sweet fashion, with just the right emotion. The end result is oddly heartwarming despite the subject matter. But I guess it echoes the overall sentiment of the song: that’s just how things went, no point to be mournful.
At the very end the song trips over though. Nevermind the light rockout finale – yet another case of the band buggering up and otherwise great mood with a random rougher section in the end – because it’s not that disturbing in this case: instead, it’s the very final line of the song. After a whole song of this emotional very un-Manicsy storytelling, you’re suddenly hit in the face with the most stereotypical early Manics line you could possibly fart out. “Intense morality parades” comes and whacks the lyrical mood across the face, standing out like a sore thumb.
Fortunately there’s the whole rest of the song to enjoy.