I’m tired of giving a reason when we’re the only thing left to believe in
To celebrate the new millennium the band decided to release a single. A hint from the new direction the next album would (partly) take, it was a much more aggressive and fierce track in its general sound than anything the band had made in ages. It wasn’t a return to the early days’ musical melodies, but a showcase that the band could still pull out an angry rock track and give their own matured take on it. It shot to number one too, although low sales for everything else is probably to credit that.
And does it sound good. It’s become a live staple these days and for a good reason – it was made for the fans. The “aa-aa-aa-aah” buildup, the bouncy rhythm, the chorus that screams for a sing-along, all signs point to a clear decision to give birth to a track that would be fantastic live for many years to come.
And I do have to say the live version IS superior to the studio version. Those who know me know that this isn’t a comment I throw lightly as I always value studio over live. But with Masses, so many things are done differently live than in the (great) studio version. The build-up and sing-along nature are of course present on the live version and it’s a fierce crowd track. The small break between the first chorus and second verse gets more of an edge live (love the guitar fiddling in the live versions), and the inane self-censorship of “all messed up and dead on alcohol” gets the fuck it deserves. It’s an energetic monster live and the one live version I witnessed myself had some funky filter effects on the verse singing – something I haven’t heard replicated in any other live version I’ve heard. Shame, it was awesome.
The bad thing in the live version is though that the brilliant one-word switch in the final chorus often gets ignored. Silly James and his lyrical ignorance in live setting.
Two single sleeve quotes: “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards” by Soren Kierkegaard and “We should support whatever the enemy opposes and oppose whatever the enemy supports” by Mao Tse Tung.
While a single, the song never got a proper video. In its place a live clip of the song from the Manic Millennium gig was used.