Manic Street Preachers - Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
Angus Reid 06/05/2007
There's something distinctly odd about this song. The first thing that stands out is that the joint vocals of James Dean Bradfield and Nina Persson sound mismatched, and somewhat at odds with one another. When they take it in turns to sing this is not so much of a problem, but upon reaching the chorus, what should be an anthemic union of voices sounds hollow and disjointed. As you get further into the song, Nicky Wire makes an appearance on backing vocals. This brief appearance highlights the lyric "I could have written all your lines" in a typically knowing self-reference, but it stands out uncomfortably in the context of the track adding a third, unexpected and unnecessary voice into the duet.
The more you get to know the song the more it dawns on you, that the overall sound is very dry and lifeless. The epic sound that the Manics displayed so well on 'Design For Life' and 'If You Tolerate This' has been abandoned in favour of a more upfront, direct pop sound. Unfortunately, this leaves the band with no glossy production to hide behind and the ultimately lackluster performances could have been recorded in from different countries and phoned into the studio. You can almost hear the boredom seeping through the speakers by the end.
Melodically speaking, the duet format is one that James Dean Bradfield is certainly used to, there are definite hints of 'Little Baby Nothing' in terms of the simple, even catchy melody. That, in a sense, is the problem however as this sounds as if the Manics are trying to complete a checklist of all the elements that make up a Manic Street Preachers song instead of actually trying to move on in any way. We have the bit where James sings higher in the chorus, then the more gruff, shouty reiteration, just in case people have forgotten what he sounds like when he's angry. Maybe it's just that the formula is getting old - the chorus could have been lifted from at least five different songs from the Manics back catalogue, albeit some of the less memorable ones.
It's hard to see the point in releasing this as a single given that it's close enough to the usual Manics sound that it won't win them any new fans, but soulless and tired enough that it will certainly put off a few die hard fans. One can only hope that the album has a little more spirit to it than this tired, toothless offering.