Released on: You Love Us (Single #3) Heavenly Records, 7 May 1991
Peak UK Chart Position: #16
Band Ranking: #11
Like the previous A-side, the Manics’ second single on Heavenly was a document of a band rapidly picking up pace, becoming increasingly confident both in their ideas and in their execution. At its core, ‘You Love Us’ is based around a simple but beautiful idea; already becoming one of the most bitterly divisive bands on the UK scene, the Manics use the song’s title both as an encouragement to their fans and to goad their critics, whether they be music journalists or the public at large. This masterstroke of rock grandstanding, thankfully matched by the raucous, dumb fun of the music, cemented for ‘You Love Us’ a permanent place in Manics setlists. It was, Nicky Wire has recalled, “a mission statement”.
‘You Love Us’ has the distinction of being the only Manics track released as a single twice; a re-recorded version was put out by Columbia a year later by way of promotion for Generation Terrorists [A20]. However, a number of features are unique to the original Heavenly version which have contributed to its superior reputation. Most importantly, the original version is bookended by samples from Krzysztof Penderecki’s 1960 classical composition Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima and Iggy Pop’s 1977 song ‘Lust for Life’. Further demonstrating the Manics’ breadth of cultural referencing and reinforcing their affection for Public Enemy is the line “parliaments a fake life saver / you better wake up and smell the real flavour” which paraphrases a line from the rap group’s 1990 track ‘911 Is A Joke’. Another interesting connection is that ‘Lust For Life’ shares its title with Irving Stone’s 1934 novel about painter Vincent Van Gogh and its 1956 film adaptation starring Kirk Douglas; the Manics would use some of Van Gogh’s last words as the title for another single, 1993’s ‘La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh)’ [A44].
The Heavenly version’s video was directed by Tony Van De Ende and comprised a simple but effective compilation of staged and live performances. Unfortunately, only a partial version seems to be available online.
The definitive version of ‘You Love Us’ is the remaster of the Heavenly version, provided on the second disc of the 2012 Generation Terrorists reissue, which cleans up the mix significantly and clarifies some of the more subtle guitar work and backing vocals in addition to re-inserting the samples, missing from the GT version.
By reaching #16 in the UK charts, ‘You Love Us’ represented an enormous increase in commercial success since the last single, ‘Motown Junk’ hit only #94. Unfortunately, the next single wouldn’t quite meet the same success, reaching #40.
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“’til I see love in statues / your lessons drill inherited sin”
Holocaust – the systemic mass killing of various groups by Nazi Germany during the Second World War.
E.S.T. – electroshock therapy (also known as electro-convulsive therapy). An often controversial psychiatric medical treatment involving electrically-induced seizures.
Strychnine – a highly toxic alkaloid used as a poison, especially to kill rats.