Well, I'll not lie here - I put the CD on from my husband to dutifully (and belatedly) review and the cat leapt up off the bed, stared fixedly at the CD player before then dashing out of the room. If that’s not an effective critique I don't know what is. If you’re not a cat lover this will sound like pointless drivel, and if you are, perhaps it still does. But I digress.
The reasons I had to replay this album comes in not so brief bullet points:
- Since its release in 1998 it has had 15 years to embed itself in the cultural subconscious. As such it is difficult to listen to it in a 'new' way, unless you concentrate.
- It is not the sort of album you can pop on and blast out of your CD player/laptop/Playstation etc. If you are (for example) wishing to work your way constructively out of a deep dark hole of depression and loss.
Therefore I have bided my time until I felt reasonably stable after consuming a box of approximately 12 sugar laden fancies.
And so you are dragged through two beautifully put together and heart wrenching tracks with "The Everlasting" and "If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next". It picks up a bit at track 3 with the joyously titled "You Stole The Sun From My Heart". It's an epic track which switches from wide and sweeping to close and almost tender; it seems like a bipolar track and is very good indeed. Track four - with the title of "Ready For Drowning - seems to grasp at hope-like a man reaching out of a dark ocean knowing its not his time-and with track five "Tsunami" I really enjoyed the lyrics, but I am not sure about them. I think James Dean Bradfield or Nicky Wire would need to explain them to me personally.
I quite like "My Little Empire" - its sweet in a way, it seems like a denial song. Is the writer a person with depression who's yet to express it? Perhaps it is from the view point of a person thinking that this dark mood is more creative and they don't want help? I don't know, I’m thinking this over too much; perhaps it doesnt mean anything, perhaps they just want that sound. The tracks entitled: "I'm Not Working", "You're Tender And You're Tired" and "Born A Girl" - I don't want to listen to these again, and after reading the lyrics, I think they needed some high intensity psychological input. Or they did. Because now, who knows...perhaps that is for the other reviewers to fathom. Or not as the case may be.
I like "Be Natural" because it sounds like good advice, also it sounds like it should have been the ending for the CD, which I loved when I was 18-but cant love now. Unfortunately it seems to go on to sing about depression on "Black Dog On My Shoulder" which is strangely referred to as a she? Nice. I don't even want to think about "Nobody To Love You" to be honest - but at least Messrs Wire, Bradfield and Moore are empathising with someone for a change; but then they end the album with "S.Y.M.M." which is about a mass murderer. Did it affect them personally or is the writer's brooding encompassing horrific crime? Appears a little incongruous-from personal experience to a cry against tragedy. Well thank you for that, but it'll be a while before I listen to you again.
The music however, and vocal style is amazing and has influenced a generation of artists and listerners. Mostly for the best:)
5 out of ten - It could have been a bit better
Here is the video for "If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next"