What do I have in my archives in response to Jim Adams’ prompt for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday Challenge which is Blossoms/Cherry/Flowers and evokes Sakura? This time I’m turning to Nobody Loved You by the Manic Street Preachers from their 1998 album This is my Truth.
They’re a Welsh rock band formed in 1986 and consisting of cousins James Dean Bradfield (lead vocals, lead guitar) and Sean Moore (drums, percussion, soundscapes), plus Nicky Wire (bass guitar, lyrics). They are often colloquially known as “the Manics”.
Following the release of their debut single “Suicide Alley”, the band was joined by Richey Edwards as co-lyricist and rhythm guitarist. The band’s early albums were more punk, eventually broadening to a greater alternative rock sound, whilst retaining a leftist political outlook. The group became a trio again after Richey Edwards disappeared in February 1995. The band went on to gain critical and commercial success despite his absence. Edwards was legally “presumed dead” in 2008
Of all the songs the Manics have released since Edwards’ disappearance in 1995, there have been several which have touched on that subject, but few which have confronted it as directly as Nobody Loved You. It makes sense, then, that the song represents the single biggest emotional and musical release on This Is My Truth and that it arrives just before the album’s final song.
Wire magazine described the song as being in the vein of Nirvana circa their massive hit album Nevermind, released in 1991. There’s definitely some truth to this, not least in the song’s usage of that band’s fabled “quiet/loud” dynamic. The more aggressive moments in this song are a jarring break with almost all the rest of the album, which has been as much about mature and atmospheric pop as it has been about “rock” per se. The track is absolutely a rock song, however – a surging, angry one which driven by guitars and especially Moore’s drums. It all makes perfect sense given the weight of emotion the track carries with it. The song refers to cherry blossoms which are known to die at the height of their beauty; a eerie parallel to Edwards’ disappearance.
Songwriters: James Bradfield / Nicholas Jones / Sean Moore
Nobody Loved You lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Songtrust Ave