Archive for the ‘1993 – Gold Against the Soul’ Category

When you’re this numb news don’t register

Oh no no, you didn’t think that the “so bad it’s good” songs disappeared after the Generation Terrorists era ended did you? Oh my how you were wrong. Well, to be frank Symphony of Tourette is one of the very few of those types of songs after the said Generation Terrorists era but it’s still a bastion of utter hilarity.

I mean, really? Hard-rocking chugga-chugga guitars and screamy James with such an immortal chorus as “‘children can be cruel’ she said/so I smashed her in the fucking head/’sorry dear, that’s the nature of Tourette'”. Symphony of Tourette sounds so preposterously stupid. It’s a subject matter that’s very hard to make anything serious about without it slipping to farce and the lyrics just send it straight to daftville. The extremely hard-rocking (by Manics standards) composition just gives it more of a ridiculous DARKER AND EDGIER vibe.

I assume many loath. Me, I giggle.


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Working class clich├ęs start here

Gold Against the Soul’s much-maligned closer, and to be honest I’ve never seen the big problem with it. Musically it’s fun – the stadium rock that carries the album is mixed with a sleazy groove and some awesome-mean guitar riffage, the chorus is pure epic-shouty brilliance and it’s seriously one of those tracks where the guitar is being awesome. And I love the bass sound as well as the rapid handclappy thing. Okay, so the lyrics are laughable but this is Richey-era Manics here so that’s nothing new. And the middle section with the ridiculously low-mixed vocals sounds a bit shit but that’s only one part of the song and it’s not so bad that it would harm the song in a big way.

It sounds like the majority of Gold Against the Soul, so why the special hate; I mean yeah, if you dislike the album in general like many do it’s understandable but the special pedestal? It’s one of my favourites off the album. But then again, I’m a sillywoo.

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I’m not barbaric, I just care

Drug Drug Druggy: a perfect example of a Gold Against the Soul song. Overblown, gigantic rock monster with a bit of silly lyrical thing going on.

It’s pretty much the underdog of Gold Against because it just screams silliness. The title, the lyrics, the delivery (James screaming “DANCE! Like a ro-booooooot” at the top of his lungs), it’s all a bit ridiculous. But there’s a really good song underneath. It’s not an album stand-out nor should it be – it’s not one of those tracks you play a lot outside the album but in its environment it works well – but it’s got a good, solid thing going on musically. The verses, especially.

It’s just a big, slightly dumb rock song.

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We don’t want your fucking love

I swear this song has the daftest remixes in the entire Manics catalogue. There’s four different ones (+ the instrumental versions), they all sound the44140 frigging same and they’ve all got this hilarious 90’s old school hip-hop/funk groove to them. They’re pure comedy and the wacky armada of them is the cherry on the top.

Oh yeah, the actual song. The only time the band has gone on the Hey Jude -route and created a long outro that just begs to be sang along at gigs till the end of the world. Manics have self-control though and both the album version and the rather faithful live cuts tend to cut the song relatively early on during the final climax. But even in its small state, it’s just another little case of the stadium rock feeling the entire Gold Against the Soul is.

(as a disclaimer, I’ve got nothing against said singalong outros. In fact, I find them awesome. Carry on)

This is of course the song that also introduced us to the “forever delayed” term that then pretty much became the band’s theme line. It’s also their only single with a swear word and the trauma from the downright silly “ro-ses in theee hos-pee-taaaaaal” line stretching that replaced the naughty part in the radio edit is probably why there’s never been a swear word in the band’s single choices ever since (outside the absurd Empty Souls censorship, but that didn’t even have a swear). Oh, and musically it’s a very damn groovy five minutes of melancholy lyrics and summery upbeat stadium rock singalong music. It’s probably one of the most upbeat songs they’ve done, sound-wise. Does have its fair share of beauty too.

The video is very 90’s and while it’s a tad messy, it’s enjoyable enough and it’s got a brief climpse of Sean acting.

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My idea of love comes from a childhood glimpse of pornography

I go on and off from Land Becoming a Landslide. On one hand it can be a really good song when you’re in the mood for it, the chorus is pretty nifty and I particularly like the little gentler break after the solo/drum break. Plus the bit during the second verse’s “ooooooooooone daaaaaaaaay” when the organ appears is pretty cool. On the other hand, it’s musically somewhat corny all the way from the hushed and gentle acoustic intro to the electric guitar chugga-chugga verses. And really, when the strings hit by the end you’re in cheesy stadium ballad village.

Actually this quite sounds like a Send Away the Tigers track released long before that album.

It’s the Gold Against the Soul track I give the coldest shoulder these days. It doesn’t really know whether it wants to be a heartstring tugging ballad or a heavy rock stadium hairbanger and the mix is pretty awkward most of the time. Bits and pieces sound nice but overall there’s just too much going on in the whole song and good god the cheese. I don’t know what to make of the lyrics either, it’s certainly one of the more successful moments of the band trying to touch up with femininity but the “I don’t wanna be a man” sentiments come off as way more awkward than in the wonderfully effective Born a Girl. Half of the song’s also some sort of study on losing the innocence of childhood.

The sleeve quote for the EP is just the dictionary definition of a child. Go look it up on your nearest dictionary.

The video is about as uninteresting as they come, but I’ve never been too keen on using live footage as the official music video. At least the fans seem to love the performance in it.

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Everyone is perfect and you’re so lame

The (currently) last in alphabetical order. Not that it means much in the bigger sense of things but it’s a fun little point.

I’m not much of a big rocker anymore. There was a time when guitarwanking, riffing etc did appeal to me but nowadays I take it only in occasional doses from select sources and prefer my rocking in a more… not so grandeously cock-rocky way. Gold Against the Soul is one of those sources despite its grandeous cock-rock style, partly because I played it endlessly during my early fanboy days and thus I’ve grown to love it. Easier to pick something you’re used to than getting something new from a style you’re not so keen on anymore, right? Plus JDB’s always been a brilliant songwriter no matter what style.

It’s not a much talked about track is it, this Yourself? It’s the sort of album track that just fades away into the background, appreciated when listened but not much picked out into the spotlight. And I admit I treat it the same way because when it does come to it, Gold Against the Soul has tracks are far superior to it. But Yourself’s teenage angst rage vibe and energy is brilliant when you’re in the mood for it. It’s less of a guitar riff salad track like most other GATS tracks, relying more on the bass and drums (the latter particularly in the chorus). It has its weaker moments such as the bridge between the verse and chorus and in general the song seems to be composed of random parts put together, but somehow it all works. It’s a bit less straightforward than the other GATS tracks and that sort of ambition mixed with the raging stadium cock rock energy makes it a fun listen.

It’s a bit of a patchy oddball but something in it is so damn endearing.

The opening guitar riff kicks ass.

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I am just a fashion accessory

The second-most classic Manics bassline.

La Tristesse is my favourite off Gold Against the Soul. I simply love how it builds and builds and builds throughout the song. From just (mainly)tristesse James’ quiet vocals and the bassriff to the more ongoing verse (that explodes with fearsome force into the song’s stadium grand glory after the quiet start), which in turn transforms into the massive, rioting, jubilant rock glory of the finale. Add in some larger-than-life drum production, eery synths (I especially love them live as they’re much more louder in the mix on stage) and a summery, energetic atmosphere. It’s the only proper live staple of the Gold Against days still played live.

‘La tristesse durera’ means something along the lines of “the sadness will never go away”‘, said by Van Gogh after an attempted suicide and recovery from it. This also doubled up as the sleeve quote for the single, rather lazily. The lyrics themselves are about war veterans and how society bothers to care about them on a single day of the year.

La Tristesse is also one of the two songs in the entire Manics catalogue that features Richey’s guitar on the record. That’s him doing the singular power chords at the first chorus, folks.

Remix-wise it’s more Chemical Brothers remix work here which means more remixes to ignore. Although the Tristesse remix is probably the best of the Chemical Bros. MSP remixes, even if that’s a very faint praise.

The official video, viewable here because youtube’s a cunt with its country restrictions and thus I can’t embed it, is notable for being the only official video that captures James with his daft blonde hair of the Gold Against the Soul days. Otherwise it’s your fairly ordinary rock video, with some artsy shots of an old war veteran following the lyrics. The mandatory embedded video for a single on this blog is going to be a performance of the song from Glastonbury 1993 – not only featuring James’ blonde hair, but also Richey’s guitar amplifier actually being on. Be sure to pay attention to the band’s range of surprise faces, from Nicky’s “wtf” to Sean’s “trying to hold back laughter” and James’ brief annoyed look.

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