I’m still soundtracking, so here is my choice for today:
A DESIGN FOR LIFE by MANIC STREET PREACHERS
For today’s song, I’m sharing another of my all-time favourites. This time, it’s from 1996, and it brings me pure happiness. Manic Streep Preachers come second only to The Carpenters, when we’re talking favourite bands (that’s quite an odd mix, isn’t it?). They are a Welsh trio, but they didn’t start out that way. Their fourth member—and very much the original soul of the band—was a guy called Richey Edwards. He suffered depression, anorexia, self harm. He wrote the most heartbreaking and intense lyrics. On 1st February, 1995, he disappeared. Two weeks later, his car was found in a service station near to a “popular” suicide spot on the Severn Bridge, which has led many people to believe he committed suicide. No body was ever found, although a few potential sightings of him have been reported in the following years. Personally, I’m not sure what I believe. I doubt we’ll ever know.
But, back to the song. I love the tune! The guitar playing is awesome. James Dean Bradfield’s voice is sublime. The lyrics are so clever, and they spoke to me so much as a twenty year old in search of meaning. The first time I heard that first line—”Libraries gave us power”—I was in! A lot of the Manics’ songs have class at the heart of them, and this one is no different. They are political and intelligent and make you think about their words. I love how, on the surface, Nicky Wire’s lyrics are saying the working classes drink and spend money they don’t have. Taking it on face value, you could be forgiven for thinking he’s being critical of the working class. But he isn’t. It’s where he’s from, after all. He is digging at the middle classes who still view the working class as inferior, as being proles. He’s angry that people from the working class are getting better jobs and better opportunities to work their way up, yet the middle class still look down at them. I would say that really hasn’t changed so much.
My main memory of this song, and the reason I say it is a purely happy song, is of my silver mini (name: K.C.; after Karen Carpenter) and my two best friends. We all loved this song, and often played it on a loop when out in my car. We all banged out the tune with our hands and sang at the tops of our voices. I know, that sounds really lame. But, it was 1995. They were simpler times . What I’m saying is, this song takes me back to K.C., Nina, and Shell. We laughed so much at our crazed drum playing. It was a time of pure happiness.
This song is more pop-y than most of the Manics’ songs. For something a little more punk (and still political because I, apparently, seem to like that) check out ‘The Masses Against The Classes.’ In fact, I’ll link that one too. It’s another of my favourites.