Manic Street Preachers – Walk Me to the Bridge (2014)
from the album “Futurology”.
Most bands that have had a steady, long and fruitful career will sooner or later stagnate. Manic Street Preachers have been no exception to this, and by the turn of the century, their relevance started to wane, and their creativity, though still producing one or two really brilliant tracks once in a while, lacked the spark and vitality of their, let’s say, first three records. Last year, they released this album, and proved to me, a relatively new fan of their, that they still got “it”.
It was especially this, the first track off the album, that generated my interest and I couldn’t help but thinking the same thing everybody else seemed to be thinking; is this about Richey Edwards?
It never really suited you”
I mean. How can this not be about the Severn bridge, where Edwards’ car was found, one of the last traces ever to be found of their long time friend that disappeared into smoke all those years ago? How can this not be a farewell to a sensitive soul who took another way out of a world and a time he was obviously not “suited” for? For those not familiar with the tragic story of the band, Richey Edwards was the enigmatic songwriter and guitarist of this band, who mysteriously disappeared in the winter of 1995 and has since then, never been seen or found again. He is, since 2008, presumed dead, and has ever since his disappearance, accumulated cult status for his intelligent songwriting and his openness on his own fragile mental status, coupled with a history of eating disorder and self harming and self-abuse.
According to the song’s, and the band’s, now principal songwriter, bassist Nicky Wire, it’s not at all about Edwards, but about himself and the band itself, and this was.. well, let’s say, disappointing to me. Are fans over analyzing and just reading things into the song, things they’d just like the song to be about? Nicky Wire thought so, and it wouldn’t be the first time this has happened, and it’s not like the Manics haven’t already delved into this subject before.. hell, they even put out an entire album about their presumably dead friend and ex band member.
But I’d like to still have my theory about what this song is about, regardless of what they band themselves have to say.
Isn’t that a bit what music is all about?
Creating your own vision and meaning from a song?
Deceived by the rest, you still have to run”
Being chronically depressed, the roads never seem to end; life is just one huge responsibility, sitting on one’s own shoulders, and most of the time, it’s unbearable, even the easiest of tasks in life seem difficult and it feels like you can’t even do anything right. And so the motion stars; to me, it’s the motion of the mind, the self-destructive patterns of the mind; “I can’t even do this – I’m useless – I’m worthless – nobody sees me – nobody cares – nobody loves me – what if I disappear – will someone even notice – I should kill myself”.
It might seem like an awkward and strange train of thought to someone who has never really been depressed, and I mean really depressed, but to the rest of us, who actually experienced this, and experiences it still too often (I’m one of them) it’s completely logical.
Edwards himself explained it like this; ““If you’re hopelessly depressed like I was, then dressing up is just the ultimate escape. When I was young I just wanted to be noticed. Nothing could excite me except attention so I’d dress up as much as I could. Outrage and boredom just go hand in hand.”
Regardless of the explanation for the song given by the band, this still to me is a way of coping and trying to understand their long gone friend, trying to, as they as themselves in the song’s lyrics, re-imagine his steps mentally… the “bridge” of the song being the bridge between the now living members of the band, still left behind, and Edwards, being long gone and presumably somewhere completely elsewhere. The “bridge” being the bridge to a otherwordly experience;
Walk me to the bridge”