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You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - #6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!

 
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You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - ... - 9/10/2011 10:16:39 PM   
tommyjarvis


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I'm no hipster, so now that the trend for making band-related lists has gone mainstream, I'm only now getting into it. So, following the threads dedicated to The Smiths/Morrissey, Pulp, Radiohead and Scott Walker, here are the top 25 songs by the band who, with apologies to die-hard fans of Stereophonics, Catatonia, Super Furry Animals and Lostprophets, are clearly Wales's finest contribution to music.

Not many mainstream rock bands over the last two decades have displayed quite the range of the Manics. From the glam-punk of the early days to their current status as dignified elder statesman, via uber-dark nihilism and stadium-sweeping epics, they are a band who have never stagnated and have always been willing to take risks and court controversy. Whether it be through DIY tattooing, releasing a chart-topping single without an accompanying video, donning balaclavas on Top of the Pops or releasing two singles on the same day, James, Nicky, Sean and Richey (RIP) have always done things their own way. And now, with the band about to release a new compilation encompassing two all of their singles before taking an extended break, the time is ideal to take a look at the highest point of two decades on the UK rock scene.

As always, I welcome comments, abuse and trolling. Enjoy.

(Disclaimer: I haven't heard Know Your Enemy, Lifeblood or Postcards From A Young Man in full, apart from the singles; nor am I very familiar with Lipstick Traces or their B-sides. So the list is likely to be less full of obscurities. However, that still leaves plenty to be dealing with.)

List so far:

25. IfWhiteAmericaToldTheTruthForOneDayIt'sWorldWouldFallApart
24. Door To The River
23. Umbrella
22. She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach
21. Motorcycle Emptiness
20. The Everlasting
19. Stay Beautiful
18. Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
17. Sleepflower
16. Judge Yr'self
15. Enola/Alone
14. Faster
13. Suicide Is Painless (Theme From M*A*S*H)
12. The Masses Against The Classes.
11. Condemned To Rock 'n' Roll
10. Life Becoming A Landslide
9. Autumnsong
8. Peeled Apples
7. You Love Us
6. A Design For Life
5. 4st 7lb
4. If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
3. Australia
2. Yes
1. Miss Europa Disco Dancer

< Message edited by tommyjarvis -- 24/8/2012 1:12:28 PM >


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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 9/10/2011 10:28:08 PM   
matty_b


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I wouldn't worry, I can't imagine anyone's top 25 Manics songs being troubled with anything from Lifeblood or Know Your Enemy.

Not even a top 100.


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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 9/10/2011 10:51:08 PM   
Olaf


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Yeah, the three you've listed are comfortably their weakest albums. Maybe one or two tracks from PFAYM might make an extended list but that's about it.

Anyway, the Manics are one of my favourite bands of all time - the best thing about them for me is how when you get into them at the right time, the look/the politics/the piles of books they mention in liner notes and interviews just add to how essential they are as a band. Really looking forward to your picks. For what it's worth:

The Holy Bible>Journal For Plague Lovers>Everything Must Go>Gold Against The Soul>Generation Terrorists>>>This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours>Send Away The Tigers>Postcards From A Young Man>Lifeblood>Know Your Enemy

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 9/10/2011 11:29:48 PM   
horribleives

 

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I love Generation Terrorists, Gold Against The Soul and most of Everything Must Go but The Holy Bible and Journal For Plague Lovers tower above everything else they've done from an enormous height.

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 9/10/2011 11:35:41 PM   
Angelus


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I was thinking about doing a Manics list. Now I don't have to make the effort.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Olaf

The Holy Bible>Journal For Plague Lovers>Everything Must Go>Gold Against The Soul>Generation Terrorists>>>This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours>Send Away The Tigers>Postcards From A Young Man>Lifeblood>Know Your Enemy


Swap Send Away The Tigers and This Is My Truth and that would probably be my order of preference.


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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 10/10/2011 9:21:37 AM   
matty_b


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Angelus

I was thinking about doing a Manics list. Now I don't have to make the effort.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Olaf

The Holy Bible>Journal For Plague Lovers>Everything Must Go>Gold Against The Soul>Generation Terrorists>>>This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours>Send Away The Tigers>Postcards From A Young Man>Lifeblood>Know Your Enemy


Swap Send Away The Tigers and This Is My Truth and that would probably be my order of preference.



Pretty much that, though I'd also swap Lifeblood and Know Your Enemy.


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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 10/10/2011 7:17:37 PM   
Piles


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Big fan of Generation Terrorist and The Holy Bible, looking forward to this.

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 10/10/2011 9:13:39 PM   
tommyjarvis


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So, it begins:

No. 25 - IfWhiteAmericaToldTheTruthForOneDayIt'sWorldWouldFallApart



"Cool, groovy, morning, fine, Tipper Gore was a friend of mine"


I should feel a bit dirty picking this one, since it has such a stark grammatical error in the very title. And this is an error which appears on the front cover of the album, no less. Still, it's sufficiently good to overcome this deficiency, marking as it does a great example of the anger and vitriol which runs through much of The Holy Bible. Rarely will you find a guitar lick that sounds as angry as the one preceding the first verse, while the lyrics mock their target with spitting fury right through to the "Fuck the Brady Bill!" finale. Despite the title, however, this is as much about UK attitudes as it is about our cousins across the pond ("There ain't no black in the Union Jack, there's not enough white in the Stars and Stripes") and while the title is a little blunt, it does an admirable job of getting its point across.

In their own words: "It's just trying to explain the confusion I think most people feel about how the most empty culture in the world can dominate in such a total sense" (Nicky Wire)

Manicness rating: 4/5. Loud and angry, sure, but more menacing than fast.

Obscure quotes & references: Phew, there's loads! The opening quote ("Next Thursday...") is from a trailer for Rising Tide, Tipper Gore is Al Gore's conservative wife, "Phoenix, R" is a reference to River Phoenix, Zapruder ("the first to masturbate at the world's first taste of crucified grace") is the guy who shot the video of the Kennedy assassination, the Brady Bill introduced the five-day waiting period for getting a gun and Sam Colt invented a revolver back in the 1830s.

How many times is the title repeated?: Zero, although "if white America told the truth for one day" is sung as backing vocals during the chorus. So near and yet so far.

How lyrically obtuse is it?: Well, the title is pretty self-explanatory. And they wonder why they never broke big in the States.

How did it do in the charts?: Not released as a single, presumably because the title wouldn't fit on DJ playlists.

Get it on: The Holy Bible (1994)

Have a listen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNtD6mrkSZ0

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 10/10/2011 10:06:49 PM   
matty_b


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Great song and I love how you're reviewing these tracks.

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 11/10/2011 10:19:01 AM   
horribleives

 

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Joined: 12/6/2009
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quote:

ORIGINAL: tommyjarvis

So, it begins:

No. 25 - IfWhiteAmericaToldTheTruthForOneDayIt'sWorldWouldFallApart



"Cool, groovy, morning, fine, Tipper Gore was a friend of mine"


I should feel a bit dirty picking this one, since it has such a stark grammatical error in the very title. And this is an error which appears on the front cover of the album, no less. Still, it's sufficiently good to overcome this deficiency, marking as it does a great example of the anger and vitriol which runs through much of The Holy Bible. Rarely will you find a guitar lick that sounds as angry as the one preceding the first verse, while the lyrics mock their target with spitting fury right through to the "Fuck the Brady Bill!" finale. Despite the title, however, this is as much about UK attitudes as it is about our cousins across the pond ("There ain't no black in the Union Jack, there's not enough white in the Stars and Stripes") and while the title is a little blunt, it does an admirable job of getting its point across.

In their own words: "It's just trying to explain the confusion I think most people feel about how the most empty culture in the world can dominate in such a total sense" (Nicky Wire)

Manicness rating: 4/5. Loud and angry, sure, but more menacing than fast.

Obscure quotes & references: Phew, there's loads! The opening quote ("Next Thursday...") is from a trailer for Rising Tide, Tipper Gore is Al Gore's conservative wife, "Phoenix, R" is a reference to River Phoenix, Zapruder ("the first to masturbate at the world's first taste of crucified grace") is the guy who shot the video of the Kennedy assassination, the Brady Bill introduced the five-day waiting period for getting a gun and Sam Colt invented a revolver back in the 1830s.

How many times is the title repeated?: Zero, although "if white America told the truth for one day" is sung as backing vocals during the chorus. So near and yet so far.


Cor, he things you learn, guv'nor - in 17 years I've never noticed that before.
So glad I saw them when this album came out - there's more chance of them coming on stage dressed as clowns these days than playing the likes of Ifwhiteamerica...

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 12/10/2011 10:06:22 PM   
tommyjarvis


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No. 24 - Door To The River



"Baby I lost my way, following our star, but I guess that's just how you are"


It's customary these days for bands who are still active to include a token new song on Greatest Hits albums, in order to draw in the die-hards who already have all the albums. In keeping with this, the Manics (who have also recorded a new song for the upcoming singles collection National Treasures) provided us with not one, but two new songs when their 2002 retrospective was released: namely the somewhat pedestrian There By The Grace Of God and this underrated ballad. By and large, the group are not renowned for slower numbers, but this gorgeous tune shows they can give it a pretty good stab. Combining low-key guitar playing and strings arrangements, yet never crossing the line into OTT-ness, this is just lovely. Your mum might even like this one.

In their own words: You know, I can't find a quote from the Manics anywhere about this song. They seem to have no opinion on at all. Shame on them.

Manicness rating: 1/5. This is the band in lush, string-laden ballad mode. Soothing and beautiful

Obscure quotes & references: "Door To The River" is a painting by Dutch artist Willem De Kooning, and is reproduced above. De Kooning is also the subject of the song Interiors (Song for Willem De Kooning) on the group's 1996 album Everything Must Go, for the record.

How many times is the title repeated?: Nine, all during the verses too.

How lyrically obtuse is it?: Relatively. Could be about moving on from a break-up, could be about death. Either is fitting for a best-of album, I suppose.

How did it do in the charts?: Not released as a single, yet There By The Grace Of God was. Go figure.

Get it on: Forever Delayed: The Greatest Hits (2002)

Have a listen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9XkZ7y76wI

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 12/10/2011 10:15:26 PM   
matty_b


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Yup, great. Agree with you on the bizarre decision to favour There By The Grace of God as a single, too...

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 16/10/2011 11:45:35 PM   
tommyjarvis


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No. 23 - Umbrella

Edit: I attempted to quote this post so I could base my next review on it and accidentally ended up deleting the content . I'll maybe re-do this review later.

< Message edited by tommyjarvis -- 19/10/2011 10:58:58 PM >


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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 17/10/2011 12:14:17 PM   
matty_b


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I'm glad you've included this, I really do like it.

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 17/10/2011 7:44:32 PM   
rawlinson

 

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Sorry, but that just made me cringe. The original pisses all over it from a very great height. Which would actually make the umbrella useful.

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 17/10/2011 9:45:38 PM   
tommyjarvis


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For a second there I thought you meant that my review made you cringe.

I don't mind the original, this version is more in tune with my tastes. I reckon they pull it off very well. Each to their own though.

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 17/10/2011 10:14:48 PM   
Angelus


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Ifwhiteamerica - Great. I wish they'd play this song live more often, I've only seen them do it once.

Door to the River - Probably wouldn't make my list, but it's quite nice.

Umbrella - Nein danke. I saw the thread title in the Audiophile forum ending as "... #23 - U" which made me think "OK, Tommy's gone for the cover of Under My Wheels". That would have been better.


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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 17/10/2011 10:19:44 PM   
rawlinson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: tommyjarvis

For a second there I thought you meant that my review made you cringe.

I don't mind the original, this version is more in tune with my tastes. I reckon they pull it off very well. Each to their own though.


No, the reviews are great. Just that cover was awful.

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 18/10/2011 12:12:08 PM   
Olaf


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I'm falling in the 'not cringey' category (beyond the obvious 'forty-something men covering a young female RnB singer' element of course). It *is* pretty cheesy, but I like it. That said, some of their other covers are better imo (Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head/What's My Name come to mind).

WhiteAmerica is brilliant though - sometimes I think the lyrics are a bit embarrassingly blunt, but it's still incredibly effective. I agree with Angelus that DTTR probably wouldn't make my list but it's still a nice song (and comfortably one of the best tracks they produced in the period covering the first half of the decade. probably not a huge compliment though, I know.)


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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 19/10/2011 10:45:06 AM   
matty_b


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I think the Manics' best cover has either been Suicide is Painless (obvs) or Out of Time.

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 19/10/2011 11:08:23 AM   
rick_7


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They were my band, the Manics. I used to do a fanzine when I was a teenager - you've probably never heard of it. The first issue sold 32 copies, which I think was our record. It cost more to produce than it sold for. Like Blue Monday. Saw them in '96 at the Manchester Apollo and twice in '97 (maybe another time as well?) - and I've still got a filled-in questionnaire from Nicky Wire in my special things box. I never really listen to them anymore, but I think I could sing every line from every song from Buzz Baby Go to the end of '96.

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 19/10/2011 12:19:06 PM   
Darth Marenghi

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: matty_b

I think the Manics' best cover has either been Suicide is Painless (obvs) or Out of Time.


No love for the cover of The Drowners, Matty?

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 19/10/2011 12:27:31 PM   
matty_b


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I've never heard that one, actually. I know they used to do it live, but did it ever make it onto a b-side?

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 19/10/2011 12:30:56 PM   
rick_7


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Darth Marenghi


quote:

ORIGINAL: matty_b

I think the Manics' best cover has either been Suicide is Painless (obvs) or Out of Time.


No love for the cover of The Drowners, Matty?

It's incredibly out of tune, but it's heartfelt.

I always liked the version of Bright Eyes. And Suicide Is Painless (as matty says, obvs).

Velocity Girl, Charles Windsor, It's So Easy and What's My Name were pretty good too.

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 19/10/2011 12:35:47 PM   
matty_b


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Oh yeah, Bright Eyes, too. Shouldn't work, but it does somehow.

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 19/10/2011 12:37:12 PM   
rick_7


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The Drowners was on the She Is Suffering single, by the way. It's a live version, with Bernard Butler guesting, and only a little less great than that sounds.

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 19/10/2011 2:13:22 PM   
Angelus


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The live cover of The Drowners sounds like it was recorded on a dictaphone at the bottom of someone's tissue-filled pocket. Decent enough stab at the song though.

I really like the version of Bright Eyes, not least because I was at that gig. Having not heard the original in years, I remember thinking "what the hell is this song?" when James started playing it, soon followed by "shit, of course!" at the chorus.

I'm rather fond of Charles Windsor too. The song, not the prince.


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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 19/10/2011 2:18:00 PM   
rick_7


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Angelus

I really like the version of Bright Eyes, not least because I was at that gig.

That is cool.

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 19/10/2011 10:57:14 PM   
tommyjarvis


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There may or may not be other covers to feature in this countdown, keep your eyes peeled for them.

No. 22 - She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach



"Table for two, such a sweet delight, whispers "I love you my darling" tonight"


So, after about a decade of mediocre material, you finally rediscover your mojo and release an album that rejuvenates your commercial fortunes and receives a lot of acclaim into the bargain. All is well again. What do you do next?

Well, if you're the Manic Street Preachers, you release a deliberately uncommercial album, with no singles, using lyrics written by your suicidal ex-bandmate some 15 years ago. Obviously.

Journal For Plague Lovers could have been viewed as a cynical attempt by the band to exploit the memory of Richey Edwards and invoke the spirit of their masterpiece The Holy Bible. Yet, while JFPL is closer to that album than anything else in their back catalogue, it still maintained its own style, with short, sharp, aggressive songs that were a world away from the middle-of-the-road material that had been dogging the group for a while. She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach is one of the best representations of the album: loud, dark, short (at 2:20, it's one of the shortest songs they've ever released) and feeling far more vital than you would expect from a band in their 40s. As the title would suggest, it's not easy listening, but it is perhaps the darkest song the band have released since 1994.

In their own words: (On Richey's inspiration for the lyrics): "There're some people he met when he was in one of the two places having treatment and I think he just digested other people's stories and experiences" (James Dean Bradfield).

Manicness rating: 4/5. This has a LOUD chorus and keeps the volume reasonably for the rest of it.

Obscure quotes & references: Not so much, although upon reading the lyrics, Nicky Wire wondered whether it was a reference to An Inspector Calls, in which a distressed girl commits suicide by drinking bleach. The pic above is from The Shining, which has nothing to do with anything other than a girl in a bath.

How many times is the title repeated?: None, although there is the line "Love bathed her in a bath of bleach", which is close.

How lyrically obtuse is it?: Not literally about an acid bath, more about a girl who longs to be loved and puts up with apparent domestic abuse to maintain her belief that she's being loved. Compared to the other songs on JFPL, it's quite straightforward.

How did it do in the charts?: Not a single. Like every other song from the album. Hardly a title likely to get much airplay.

Get it on: Journal For Plague Lovers (2009)

Have a listen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsOyN4C2NkE

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RE: You Love Us: The Top 25 Manic Street Preachers Songs - 20/10/2011 8:56:39 AM   
matty_b


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From: Outpost 31 calling McMurtle.
Great choice.

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ORIGINAL: Cool Breeze
Mattyb is a shining example of what the perfect Empire Forum member is.


(in reply to tommyjarvis)
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