Journal for Plague Lovers

Album: Journal For Plague Lovers (2009)

Songfacts®:

  • In February 1995 Manic Street Preacher rhythm guitarist and principal lyric writer Richey Edwards went missing. A fortnight later his Vauxhall Cavalier was found abandoned near the Severn Bridge on the English/Welsh border. Edwards has not been since and he was officially declared dead in November 2008. In the weeks leading up to his disappearance, Edwards gave personal items to his bandmates. To bassist Nicky Wire, he gave a ring-bound folder with a picture of Bugs Bunny and the word "opulence" scrawled on the front. Inside were various artwork, photos, tracts from various writers, and the lyrics to around 30 or so potential songs. The Welsh band decided to write songs around Edwards' lyrics for their ninth studio album Journal For Plague Lovers and recorded it in Wales' Rockfield Studios during the latter part of 2008. Vocalist James Dean Bradfield told The Guardian May 8, 2009 why they finally decided to publish Edwards' lost lyrics: "Two or three times a year, I'd get them out and look at them, and every time it was always the same reaction: I'd always imagine putting music to them, then I'd get a bit scared and put them back in a drawer. But this time I'd looked at them and it was the first time I couldn't stop turning the pages and I was getting ideas and stuff. Quoting the film The Contender, it was an idea whose time had come. I said, 'By the way, I really want to try and do the Richey lyrics.'"
  • Edwards checked himself into the Priory shortly after the 1994 release of The Holy Bible to be treated for a combination of self-harm, heavy drinking and anorexia that he was battling. This song refers to the treatment he received. Bradfield told the NME May 16, 2009: "I think it talks about when the malady doesn't fit the cure. And how the cure sometimes homogenises the person. Like, 'PG certificate, all cuts unfocused'… the cure will sometimes bring a bland focus to what is a real problem."
    Wire added: "Because of course, The Priory is a mixture of all pseudo-God and religious b--locks and doctors trying to cure you. He quickly realized that the cure means having to destroy the entire entity that you are. And I don't think he's prepared to do that for the sake of survival."

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