Yes, you read that blog title correctly. As a Manics fan, I get a bit tetchy when I'm told that my favourite band only write "depressing lyrics."
I admit that tackling subjects such as the Holocaust, anorexia and the death penalty might not instantly mark the Manics out as a cheery band. I also admit that you're never likely to get motivational posters being made out of some of their darker lines...
...But bear with me, on this. Sometimes, Manics lyrics can be beautiful and - yes, believe it or not - inspiring, And with that in mind, I'd like to share ten inspirational Manics lyrics to live your life by. Admittedly, I may be interpreting my own meaning out of these words on some level, but isn't that what we're supposed to do with poetry? Anyway, this is my way of proving that Manics lyrics aren't all doom and gloom...
1. "Who gives a shit about sexuality?" - Gold Against The Soul, taken from the album of the same name. Lyrics by Richey Edwards & Nicky Wire.
Whatever the band were intending to say here, there's a very simple meaning we can take from it: what does it matter whether a person is gay, straight, bisexual, asexual or anything in between? They're a person, just like you or me. Let's not judge ourselves or anyone else on just one part of their life.
2. "I know I believe in nothing, but it is my nothing." - Faster, taken from the album, "The Holy Bible." Lyrics by Richey Edwards.
It might sound a little strange to refer to a lyric about believing in nothing as being "inspirational," but in this case, it's less the lyric and more the intent behind it. This is a man saying "look, don't judge me for not having the same views or beliefs as you. What I believe - or don't believe - is up to me." This is someone saying it doesn't matter if we go against the grain, as long as we're true to ourselves. And that's pretty inspirational.
3. "Freed from the memory, escape from our history. And I just hope that you can forgive us, but everything must go." - Everything Must Go, taken from the album of the same name. Lyrics by Nicky Wire.
For me, this line has another very simple meaning: Live your life forwards, not backwards. Don't solely focus on the things that have gone wrong over the years, just try to learn from them and then keep going, because the freedom you'll feel at letting go of the past can be incredible. Sure, it's important to remember things that have happened and to treasure the memory of those we've lost, but we shouldn't cling to yesterday so hard that we miss out on today.
4. "If you tolerate this, then your children will be next." - If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next, taken from the album "This Is My truth, Tell Me Yours." Lyrics by Nicky Wire.
This may sound like an unusual choice of inspirational lyric, but again, it's about the meaning behind the song. This is essentially the voice of someone saying "we have to do something," rather than sit idly by and watch terrible things happening all over the world. It's a call to action - we need to be helping those who need it and acting against hate and atrocities, because it could just as easily be us who are in need and wouldn't we want someone to help us?
5. "You have broken through my armour and I don't have an answer. I love you all the same." - You Stole The Sun From My Heart, taken from the album "This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours." Lyrics by Nicky Wire.
Being a bit of a soppy old romantic, for me this line really encapsulates the importance of letting someone in. It can be scary, allowing someone to break down your defences and really get close to you, but to do so can be incredibly beautiful and deeply rewarding.
6. "Find your truth, face your truth, speak your truth and be your truth." - Judge Yr'self, penned for the Judge Dredd soundtrack. Lyrics by Richey Edwards & Nicky Wire.
I like this a lot. For me, this is simply about discovering who you really are and then being that person, unashamedly, without trying to fit in to whatever box society wants to put you in. Again, I'm more than likely placing my own interpretation onto these words, but hey...
7. "Little things change people's lives." - Send Away The Tigers, taken from the album of the same name. Lyrics by Nicky Wire.
It doesn't take much to do something for someone else. And you never know how much of a difference it might make to their life, if you do. Equally, we must remember to thank those people whose small actions have made a big difference to our lives.
8. "This world will not impose its will. I will not give up and I will not give in." - Postcards From A Young Man, taken from the album of the same name. Lyrics by Nicky Wire.
Someone once told me that they thought these lyrics were too "forceful." But to me, they're about passionately following something you believe in, right until the end. It's about refusing to give up on something you feel strongly about and it's about not allowing life to break you, even when things get tough. These are the lyrics that I had tattooed on me, a year after leaving an abusive relationship, so they mean a great deal to me.
9. "And if we can, then we must hold our heads up, learn to trust. It's up to you, it's up to us. Some dignity, a little love." - Four Lonely Roads, taken from the album "Rewind The Film." Lyrics by Nicky Wire.
This is pretty self-explanatory.... Keep your head up, be proud of who you are. Show some love and allow others to see the real you.
10. "Isn't it lovely, when the dawn brings the dew, I'll be watching over you." - William's Last Words, taken from the album "Journal For Plague Lovers." Lyrics by Richey Edwards (edited by Nicky Wire).
Okay, I'll admit I take some issue with the way that William's Last Words was edited. Originally, the "lyrics" were more aptly described as a piece of prose, written from the viewpoint of a man who seemed to be retiring from his job. It was heavily edited, with obvious reason (it was literally pages long and jumped around a lot), but in doing so, the meaning of the piece was changed. It became a goodbye, seemingly from the viewpoint of a man who was either leaving or dying. It's understandable that, having had no goodbye note from Richey (who disappeared in 1995 and was legally "presumed dead" in 2008) must have had a huge impact on those who loved him, but to edit his words into the goodbye he never wrote sits a little uncomfortably with me. Perhaps, in amongst the prose, really was the goodbye he could never bring himself to say and Nicky simply found it and put the piece together, but the truth is that we'll never know what Richey really meant by William's Last Words.
That all said, I think this line is particularly beautiful. I've chosen to include it - and to end this list with it - because sadly, death will happen to us all, someday. But to believe that we'll be watching over those we leave behind is a beautiful thing. It inspires me, whether I 100% believe it or not, because I want it to be true.
So, there we have it. I guess the point of this list was not only to prove that the Manics' lyrics aren't all doom and gloom, but to highlight that we can all find inspiration in the things we are passionate about, even if others can't quite see it. These lyrics inspire me (as do many other Manics lyrics, not to mention lyrics from other bands/artists I love).
Feel free to share lyrics that inspire YOU in the comments!