Released on: New Art Riot E.P. (EP #1) Damaged Goods, 22 June 1990
Band Ranking: #34
‘Strip It Down’ is unusual in the Manics catalogue as a song which is more familiar in a live recording than in its original studio version. This is owing to the fact that the Lipstick Traces B-sides and rarities compilation (more widely available familiar to many fans than New Art Riot), released in 2003, included a particularly spirited live performance instead of the original. The live recording, which opens with some unusual looping effects, was recorded at the Moles venue in Bath presumably at some point in 1990 and was later released with the Heavenly Records version of ‘You Love Us’ [A11] in May 1991.
The lyrics are mainly concerned with the perennial Manics themes of political corruption and the dehumanising effect of consumerism. As with the later song ‘Natwest – Barclays – Midlands – Lloyds’ (T23), the line “smother my life in interest accounts” reflects a concern with the damaging practices of the financial sector which is particularly resonant after the financial crash of 2007-08. It is important to remember, however, that financial corruption and malfeasance are not recent inventions, but intensified during the deregulation of the 1980s, as overseen by Margaret Thatcher’s government; events that would have been very much in the recent memory of the band members at the time.
‘Strip It Down’ also holds the honour of being the first Manics song to have a promotional video made, although the resulting film has become extremely scarce and only fragments of it are available online in the form of rips from VHS tapes. The very amateurish effort sees the band play in front of a black-and-white rotating psychedelic backdrop, and is a far cry from some of the stronger videos that would be released over the years.
‘Strip It Down’ was included as one of the tracks ranked by the band in NME in 2011; although it was an EP track rather than an A-side, it was brought in to round up the total number of songs to 40 and came in at #34.
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“hate is art and we steal cars / decaying flowers in the playgrounds of the rich”