After a fairly lengthy hiatus since the release of their seventh studio LP, Lifeblood, suddenly the Manics are back. Only two singles had been released from Lifeblood, both of which charting at number 2 but failing to translate into solid album sales. Two solo albums - one from Nicky and one from James - only furthered rumours that the group had finally fizzled away. Thankfully this is not the case - Manic Street Preachers are back, and with a pretty solidly good single on the shelves, too, entitled Your Love Alone Is Not Enough. As with many of their releases, the sleeve is adorned with an interesting quotation: here, we're treated to a quote by Arnold Newman. The sleeve's artwork concept is credited to Nicky Wire, featuring a young girl in a stars and stripes leotard in front of a similar trailer (the photograph is taken from "Monika Monster Future First Woman On Mars").
The Manics had dabbled with featuring guest vocalists before, all the way back om their debut album Generation Terrorists, convincing Traci Lords to sing with them on Little Baby Nothing when Kylie Minogue refused. For this single, a slightly less controversial singer joins the group - Nina Persson, of The Cardigans. Her voice fits in wonderfully here, contrasting James' familiar delivery (and completely different to Nicky's couple of lines!) and adds an interesting dynamic to the track.
So what of the song itself? Your Love Alone Is Not Enough sounds immediately different to the Lifeblood singles, evoking a feel much more reminiscent of their mid-Nineties work. Unlike earlier singles, it remains upbeat, but the guitars and drums once again dominate over synthesisers whilst James and Nina duet. Lyrically the song is uncharacteristically simple, each couplet of the verses featuring a hook of key words repeated until the next line comes along.
The song certainly wouldn't sound out of place on Everything Must Go - one of their most celebrated albums, and the first post-Richey. Confirming suspicions of harkening back to earlier times, the song's video features the group wearing their earlier trademark military uniforms, and even the band's name on the sleeve features backwards letter Rs. While upbeat, the lyrics appear to come from a rueful lover, explaining to their partner that their love "won't save the world", and that regretfully they "won't make a mess of me". They seem to be asking for more from their partner, but just what that is they refuse to say. Behind all of this guitars sing, and the band seem to be truly glad to be back.
As is the norm these days, the song was released as a download a week before physical release. On the strength of those sales alone, the track hit 26 in the UK Singles charts. The track was then released on two CDs and a 7" vinyl single on April 30, 2007, reaching number 2 in the UK charts that week.
The single, naturally, has been released to promote an album, in this case Send Away The Tigers.
Compiled using my own copies of the singles, Wikipedia, and the video which is somewhere on YouTube.