If you want to be a hero then just follow me
I admit I’m somewhat unfairly biased towards this song. I can hardly stand the John Lennon original, it’s a song that’s meant to sound really bitter and angry but comes off as somewhat of a tantrum. There’s never been a good cover of it either, part of the reason there being that most cover artists want to emphasise the bitter angriness of the song and end up just sounding like tits on a tantrum bravado, acting all tough but sounding cringy. It’s long been a subject of debate whether Lennon was sarcastic or serious with it but neither interpretation really does the song any extra favours.
Now would be a perfect time to start a sentence with “but…” and defend our protagonists but Manics have also ended up falling in the foxhole around the song. The MSP arrangement is gruff and angry, distorted guitars and fuzzed up production. Stompy and ragey. It too sounds daft and cringy. This time it’s not really the band’s fault though – sure the arrangement falls into the usual trap where a lot of the covers of this song trip on but in the end it’s the weakness of the original song that’s at fault. The only thing we can properly blame the band for is the small lapse of judgement that made them cover the song in the first place but it’s not the end of the world.