Love Torn Us Under is a Holy Bible b-side, released in the latter part of 1994, and is one of the few Manics songs written exclusively by Richey. This in itself should be telling of the song’s nature, but nothing can prepare you for the bare chords and barrage of meaning laid out in just a few measures. The melancholy, the resignation, the sorrowful acknowledgement - all crippling. I feel that it’s the closest Richey ever got to being completely honest in lyrics.

Given that, it’s also the most complex set of words in the history of meaning, and I owe conversations with my best friend Melinda as much as my own mind (she also helped with Revol and Mausoleum). Thus, this interpretation is written in the form of a dialogue, a la Plato or Socrates.


Heaven’s weariness, I’m climbing the walls

- Richey, or the narrator, feels trapped even in a paradise (religious guilt?), so he’s trying to climb the walls and get out.
- But the phrasing is ‘heaven’s weariness’. What is heaven weary of? Or, heaven IS weariness. Safety and nothing is preferrable to actual pleasure. No use for happiness.
- Or real love is preferrable to salvation.
- It is both damnation and an end to despair.
- Or, as in Love’s Sweet Exile, love is only sweet in exile. Damned people are only able to live in happiness if they are exiled.
- I also don't doubt that heaven is childhood with Nicky as well, so heaven has wearied and gone away, even as religious heavens are denied (willingly), in the pursuit of that absent pleasure.

Asleep, I daydream, I could change it all

- Sleeping and daydreaming is a paradox, again.
- Also an indication that the thoughts and torments are there while waking and sleeping. Could also indicate a difficulty discerning the difference between dream and reality, waking and sleeping—
- He’s dreaming he could change it all, but part of him feels like he actually could. Or could have, if it weren’t too late.
- And even while awake he’s only dreaming, so he is admitting his lack of ability to make any impact on anything. He’s always dreaming, though the dreams are of change.

Running from something too painful to face

- The phrase has no subject, so he could be talking about himself or another person. Richey is running from love and having frequent trysts with groupies. Nicky is running from love and pretending nothing happened. Two people running. And maybe the media is running from some kind of truth as well?

Epitaph’s torn into barefoot soled feet

- Barefoot soled implies ‘bared souls’. Truth and openness, then, brings death.
- Here’s another paradox with barefoot and soled. A deathlike state is still possible whether you hide things or not.
- Really open but pretending not to be, and vice versa.
- Double irony?
- Yes, and epitaph’s torn into the feet right after running from pain. So even in trying to avoid pain, he’s getting more where it hurts the most.
- Epitaph and heaven – an epitaph pertains to what’s on a gravestone, really.
- Ah, but the epitaph’s carved into the soles of feet – and how often do you see those? It’s as if he’s trying to stamp out the truth by running away from it, and causing demise – the demise of a love – in the process.

Ecstasy’s columns decay into night

- I’m probably just a pervert, but he could be talking about erections. Plural to indicate… the plural. It’s a nice euphemism.
- And during sex with random girls, he’s only turned on for so long, and then he has to go back to thinking and dreaming.
- Sex allows him a brief hope of happiness – or at least a hope of fleeting happiness, that falls all too quickly.

Underneath hope, she let sanity die

- Ecstasy’s columns are holding up hope. Decay into night – decaying tonight. Despite constantly going into sex with girls, he knows it just makes his hopes fall. Useless addictive habit. Bodily need, when what he really wants is…
- Sex is temporary, just like his sanity.
- I think, from seeing this far, that ‘heaven is weariness’ is implied more than the possessive. Heaven and ecstasy being two words that mean essentially the same thing. Heaven’s weariness, ecstasy’s decay, et al.

Wasting my time on the shackles of her love

- This is obviously double. Nicky wastes his time with a ‘her’; Richey wastes his time with a ‘her’.
- Also, wasting time and shackles reinforce the lack of action implied beforehand.
- Shackles make them trapped. Climbing the walls. Like Cupid and Psyche making a hole in the wall between their houses. Shackles are forced relationships, marriage, anything contrived.

At night complete love’s torn us under
Love is dragging me under


- Love has torn us apart, as in love has fucked everything up – or, love itself has been torn asunder. This love. Torn.
- At night, complete. Love’s torn us under. There should be punctuation there.
- He’s only complete in the dark, as (real) love has torn the support out from under him.

Betray my other self
The lost hours are over


- The other self has three forms. He’s betraying his religious/Catholic self by loving someone he’s not supposed to, he’s betraying his loving side by sleeping with random girls, and he’s betraying his jaded self by being in love.
- And ‘other self’ is a cliché way (as in ‘better half’) to refer to a lover.
- The hours are lost and over. Hours of possibility have been lost.

A gentleman’s left me, a cataract’s past life

- I think the first bit has only one meaning.
- Glaring honesty. Although, by sleeping with strangers, he isn’t being a gentleman towards women; he’s just using them. The cataract and its past life also seem to imply that his ‘gentleman’ doesn’t love him anymore. Which could be how Richey felt, even though it wasn’t true.

Searching for something I’m unable to find

- This juxtaposed with a cataract. He blinds himself to his own past?
- But a cataract means that Nicky, or both of them, became blind in ‘old age’, and ran away.
- Lack of self-evaluation, then.
- Searching for something just refers directly to the cataract, since a cataract distorts your vision. So he could be the cataract, because he’s past life, and on the way to death (destruction).

Too weak, too envious, sorrow’s daily rhyme

- Lamenting the monotony of depression, as well as mocking his own excuses for it.
- Too weak to stop having sex with strangers. Too envious of, well, what do we think he's envious of?
- Emotional connection, as well as the ability to have emotional closeness with anyone (Nicky).
- He’s sick of his own jealousy.

I found so much grief that I just turned ice

- He was searching earlier in the song. All he found was despair.
- And grief as chastisement, in addition to the despair. He has to have gotten flack for sleeping with girls (some of whom were obviously in love with him) and abandoning them afterwards without any sentiment whatever. Also for not finding 'love' in any sense at all outside of our Darling Nicky.
- It can also be read as ‘I found so much grief that I just turned eyes’, or turned away. (See: Told Cold Here.)

Memory cannot choose where it wants to be
Love this sex, self-pity as mangled sheets


- These two lines forge the image of being sexually intimate with one person while your mind is with someone else. Using meaningless sex the same way he uses alcohol and starvation – as a coping mechanism.
- This is just the key to the whole song, isn’t it? Reference to love lost. Pity yourself, destroy the sheets – the sex doesn’t mean anything, after all.

A tenderness declines in the mind

- More barbarism. Also, perhaps, an indication of what the sex does to the memories – dims them a bit, but keeps them in the mind just the same.
- The tenderness could also be the feelings of whatever girls he chooses to sleep with, since afterwards their opinion of him has likely changed completely.
- ‘Declines’ is also an interesting word because it's paralleled throughout the song – being dragged under, columns decaying, lost hours that are over. It is, in many ways, a song of endings – or trying to find them in all the wrong places.
- And yet through the whole thing, he tells himself, insists obsessively – don’t think about it. Don’t think. If you don’t dwell on it, there’s nothing there, and you can pretend to be happy with physicality, with other meaningless people, even though all tenderness has left with the love.

At least two layers are bared in each line, and each of them is a sincere, unconditional truth.

For further effect, here is the entire song without breaks.

Heaven’s weariness, I’m climbing the walls
Asleep, I daydream, I could change it all
Running from something too painful to face
Epitaph’s torn into barefoot soled feet
Ecstasy’s columns decay into night
Underneath hope, she let sanity die
Wasting my time on the shackles of her love
At night complete love’s torn us under
Love is dragging me under
Betray my other self
The lost hours are over
A gentleman’s left me, a cataract’s past life
Searching for something I’m unable to find
Too weak, too envious, sorrow’s daily rhyme
I found so much grief that I just turned ice
Memory cannot choose where it wants to be
Love this sex, self-pity as mangled sheets
A tenderness declines in the mind.



It’s almost useless to write anything after that.

In spite of his professing that ‘there is no true love / just a finely tuned jealousy,’ Love Torn Us Under makes it plain to see that by the time he disappeared, Richey knew he had been wrong.

Lyrics from http://www.staybeautiful.net.

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