Archive for the ‘1994 – The Holy Bible’ Category

Failure is his own impotence

Probably the weirdest single ever released when you consider only the lyrics. Sure there’s been loads of singles with questionable lyrics but I really27095 find it hard to think there’s anything as incoherently absurd in such a weird way as Revol, a song that consists of equating tyrants with various sexual acts and whose chorus consists of nazi-era German terminology. And it’s all sung in a machine-like, highly ticced and abrupt speak-singing.

Compare this to the song’s musical directness. A short three-minute burst of angry punk rock energy. Intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, chorus, all played fast together in a hurried pace. The lyrics aren’t really that good but I love the way they work with the music.

Famously hated by the band, James has defended the US mix of the song and even said it was a must inclusion on the band’s greatest hits. Where it never appeared, naturally. I do like the original but once again, US mix really improves things with the additional ‘oomph’ in the production.

The video’s good, a bit of a Faster -lite style performance video. It’s nifty and serves its job, the only bad thing in it being James’ sailor outfit – only Donald Duck makes that look cool.


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I am here to serve the moral majority

I don’t like gimmicky titles. And if this one wasn’t annoying enough, it’s got the godawful apostrophe grammar mistake (which I have gleefully fixed here because I can).

Title aside, fuck me what a song. Bloody love the beat, the rhythm of the instruments and the vocals, the evil guitar riff in the back drowned by the militaristic drums. The chorus is absolutely amazing, the drum beat and backing vocals are brilliant. The post-chorus continues in an almost as brilliant way with some great Nicky cameos. There’s so much raw power in this frantic killer march. Of course, the real power of the song is unleashed on the US mix and its powered-up percussion. Fuckin’ rock, man.

The finale is a bit weak though. After a song full of sexy as fuck drumming and frenetic insanity in vocal delivery you get a rather boring, unordinary conclusion to the song. No guys, not this way.

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Such beautiful dignity in self-abuse

There was a point in time when this song was in constant danger of being partly ruined for me by other people. And by other people I mean the people permanently stuck in Richey’s ass, praising his every fart as a new messianic piece of art. 4st 7lb being pretty much the quintessential Richey track thanks to its lyrics and subject matter, it gets a horrible amount of fangirl fapping over it.

But once you stop being childish and ignore its reputation, it’s really quite a great song. Lyrically it is one of Richey’s best due to it staying sensible instead of following the “I quote dictionaries and namecheck people because I can“-mentality. It offers a rather touching image, really. 4st 7lb referenced in the title is the lowest possible adult human weight before death.

But like everywhere else in The Holy Bible, the real praise is with the songwriting. The angular guitar riffing, the slightly mad and twisted anger in it is a great thing to feast your ears on. Then the long outro comes in and turns the whole song from a manic tirade to a creepy children’s lullaby. The song turns from defiant to defeated, from strong and self-confident to a delusional epitaph. And it works pretty damn great with the lyrics. It’s still one of my least favourite cuts on the album though.

The US mix is, as always, highly superior to the original mix. In the original you can’t even hear the quiet backing vocals in the chorus which is a shame as they offer a lot into the song despite being so subtle and understated. The stronger rhythmic section doesn’t do anything bad to the madman drive either.

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I can’t seem to stay a fixed ideal

Die in the Summertime, and its chorus specifically, is a parade for hilarious contrasts.

The verse is a mysterious, swirling mass of depression and anxiety. It’s bleak like the most of the album but carries its own little dark groove to it. Fleshed-out bleakness if you will. And boom, here comes the chorus and what the hell, it’s almost joyous.

Which of course wonderfully works with the lyrics: “I wanna die in the summertime” sung on top of a twistedly positive musical backing. Brilliance.

Shame it doesn’t work so well in execution than it does as an idea. The verses are fucking brilliant but the chorus sounds copy/pasted from a whole other song and the switch between the two is always very, very jarring. Not to mention that no matter how convincingly you try to deliver it, “I wanna die/die in the summertime/I wanna die” will always sound downright stupid.

The 10th anniversary re-release has a demo of this song included on it. It’s not radically different at all, the band recorded the demo when they had the gist of the song finished, but the recording has a different vibe to it. It’s very curious. A lovely little curiosity, could have used some more of those on the re-release instead of boring live and radio session tracks (and those whopping three b-sides could have been included too but that’s a rant more fitting to another place).

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Can’t shout, can’t scream

I suppose the most menacing things are the ones that don’t seem such at all.

Yes is such a weird yet such a perfect introduction to The Holy Bible. It’s not a very angry or musically bleak track like the rest of the album. It’s in fact somewhat cheery, even relaxed. Then you listen to the lyrics and realise that James’ singing isn’t relaxed, it’s moreso apathetic or neurotic. And by the time the bridge hits and James’ tone changes into a more panicked, accusatory one you’ve grasped the plot of the song.

And it still sounds oddly cheery and poppy.

It never would have made a great single though despite its misleading catchiness. It was supposed to be The Holy Bible’s fourth single (you can see some of the planned cover art on the 10th anniversary re-release of the album) but how to make a single out of a song with “cunt” and “fuck” being recurring words? Why, soften them out of course. The 10th anniversary re-release of The Holy Bible contains a radio session performance of Yes with the band softening out the words. It sounds downright stupid and clumsy, plus you can simply sense the band’s aggravation towards the changes. Kinda fortunate it didn’t become a single, although the reason – Richey’s disappearance – might have been a bit too extreme of a solution.

The 10th anniversary re-release also has a new Patrick Jones directed video for the song. It’s your typical Patrick Jones, ’nuff said.

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Beauty is such a terrible thing

Goth disco. A Holy Bible stand-out. Gets better with the US mix. She Is Suffering in a nutshell.

The goth disco comment mainly comes from the dancy hi-hat beat and the thick bassline mixed with the dark, grim atmosphere and lyrics. A bit27096 supervisial but ah well.

Holy Bible stand-out it is because it’s so damn great. It was one of the tracks that stood out the best in my ears the first time I heard the album, much due to my fondness towards thick basslines and disco beats. James’ creepily seductive singing and the final yelps at the song’s finale raises this as one of Bible’s best vocal exercises as well which isn’t an easy thing to do considering James’ voice acrobatics on the album. The lyrics work as well: sure one could argue about whether the extended metaphore of beauty as a she really works that well but let’s face it, these words beat those inane artsyfag-angstiness of e.g. “Of Walking Abortion” quite well.

The US mix improves this song as well. First of all, the enhanced production on the rhythm section really works wonders for a song where the rhythm section was the dominant force to begin with. Second, it adds layers upon layers of atmospheric synths and background noise to the song which enhance the mood immensely. The original version doesn’t work at all anymore after hearing the US mix.

Everyone seems to hate this though. Oddballs.

The video is a bit cack in its wannabe-mysteriousness but it’s got some nice shots of the band.

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Obliterates your meaning

Mausoleum shows us just how crucial every part of the song is for overall enjoyment.

Brilliant, evil intro (love that effect-heavy guitar) that leads right into a driving verse full of force. After the great verse we are treated to the song’s highlight: the absolutely gorgeous bridge full of angular rhythm and James’ machinegun vocal delivery which sounds just as menacing, insane and threatening each and every time – the brilliant lyrics help (on the other hand, the verse lyrics are a bit cringy). Aaaaand then we come to the chorus that doesn’t really offer any of the jagged, thorned mood of the rest of the song and strolls along. It strolls along fine but dammit, that’s a huge drop in atmosphere. Not to mention the rather poor outro.

Mausoleum had every chance to become one of my favourite cuts from The Holy Bible but the relative ‘normality’ of the chorus really hurts.

The demo found on the 10th anniversary re-release of the album carries a slightly different vocal rhythm on the bridge. It’s slightly disjointed and unfocused.

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