Musically, it’s the highlight of Know Your Enemypiercing, distinct, and infectious. The Manics at their best. But let’s face it: the words sound like Nicky sat down with lyrics in one hand and a dictionary in the other and looked up random words until he made the song as oblique as humanly possible. To disguise something? Who knows.

Appropriately, dissecting the song took a half hour of holding the lyrics in one hand and a dictionary in the other, looking up random words until each verse made a minimal lick of sense.

Into a vein exhibit the derelict
A secular mosaic distracted at birth
A Cubist abstraction let it live forever
Narcissism so lonely so live by the sea

A derelict is something abandoned by choice, such a ship, or a homeless (and thus abandoned) person.

Secular is a description that means, essentially, unreligious. However, a more rarely used meaning is something that happens once in a blue moon and lasts for an indefinite period of time, thus being worldly rather than divine.

A mosaic is a decoration made of artistically arranged pieces, usually of different colors and substances, that add up to a larger picture when completed.

Cubism is a modernist art form, the most important features of which are showing all sides of an object at the same time, and depicting said object as fragmented (see: Picasso, Matisse).

Narcissism is self-obsession or self-love, originating from Ovid’s tale of Narcissus, a man who falls in love with his own reflection.

Cosmetic polemic
Distinguished by relics
Destructive aesthetic
Intravenous agnostic

Cosmetic describes something that is done or relates to purely visual, aesthetic, or surface attributes.

A polemic is a controversial argument, usually in refute of a larger scheme of rules, that can be ‘artistically’ depicted.

A relic is a remnant of the past that may have religious associations with the culture it came from.

Aesthetic is similar to cosmetic in that it pertains to pleasuring the senses only, although cosmetic has more of a visual connotation.

Someone who is agnostic is not committed to either believing or disbelieving in a higher power – he or she thinks that anything so ultimate will always be unknown.

Brutality is needed in a capitalist society
Television abandoned my very entity
Nature failed me but then it made me
We all pray for pluralist babies

An entity is a self-contained being or existence.

Pluralism is the simultaneous holding of two offices, beliefs, or otherwise ‘irreconcileable’ truths.

Dismayed dispossessed
Life becomes Calvinist
So sparkle and believe
Linguistics die easily

Dispossessed means homeless, or otherwise deprived of a sense of belonging.

Calvinism is a sect of Christianity that preaches original sin and predestination.

A linguist is one who uses language well, or speaks many different languages well (an orator?).

The language of abandonment and loneliness is everywhere (derelict, dispossessed, abandoned), as is the notion of surfaces leading to problems (cosmetic polemic, destructive aesthetic). When it comes to religion or ultimate reality, there are two options (agnosticism, pluralism, nature failing/making), and all of this relates to something vital in the past (relics, at birth).

So, let’s see what we have here. Presenting intravenously, or injecting directly into the bloodstream, some abandoned thing or person. An unreligious but long-lasting combination of qualities (mosaic) has been distracted, or distracting, since birth. This vague or difficult to determine thing can be examined from all sides at the same time, so, although it is fragmented, it will last forever – but still, self-obsession is a lonely way to live.

A purely visual or surface-related substance/thing leads to an argument depicted in art (songs?). It has meaning only when seen in relief against the past. Someone in the past sees beauty in destruction and degradation, so there is an injection of skepticism towards both the present reality and any sort of divinity (hope).

The excuse for all this is that capitalism breeds a ‘dog eat dog’ mentality. More images of abandonment, this time from the self. Nature did something wrong but at least there is existence, OR – nature did something wrong and then redeemed itself. There is also an intense, quasi-religious desire to make people see the world in two different ways.

Someone (Nicky?) has been weirded out and abandoned by all senses of security and loyalty. The result is to turn to a strict doctrine that (perhaps metaphorically) preaches the original sin of mankind. Now there is belief, and a small sense of pleasure (‘sparkle’), despite the fact that language is weak and the people who deploy it even weaker.


I end with a few lyrical extractions that connect this far better than I ever could.

“I am a relic, I am just a petrified cry.” –Richey, La Tristesse Durera

“It’s poetry, sheer poetry the way you destroy your beauty.” –Nicky, Miss Europa Disco Dancer

Self-disgust is self-obsession, honey, and I do as I please.” –Richey, Faster

“Fascinated by good, destroyed by evil, what is there to believe in?” –Nicky, Ready for Drowning

In conclusion?

All those years and still writing about the same damn thing.

Lyrics from Know Your Enemy liner notes; definitions from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.