Released on: Generation Terrorists (Album #1) Columbia Records, 10 February 1992
‘Born to End’ is one of the more lyrically impenetrable efforts on Generation Terrorists partly because it reverts to the occasional Manics tendency to consist of mainly disconnected slogans and partly because it is never clear what the title phrase means or refers to. Nuclear war is definitely a key theme – the line “H bomb the only way to bring our freedom to life” is most likely a reference to the concept of nuclear deterrence, which posits that the ability to counter-attack an opposing state with atomic weapons is the best way to ensure peace. Taken alongside the references to a “Europe freed by McDonald’s and Levi’s”, it arguably forms part of a criticism of American influence in Europe (the US having based nuclear weapons on UK soil, and the UK’s protection by the American “nuclear shield”).
Musically there is very little about this track which sets it apart from the album as a whole and especially from the two tracks preceding it, but for some distortion in one of the final choruses and the very heavy emphasis on backing vocals (including some by Moore).
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“can’t afford it so I hate it all”
H-bomb – hydrogen bomb, a type of nuclear weapon which works on the principle of fusing hydrogen isotopes to release immense destructive energy.
Nagasaki – the Japanese city on which the first H-bomb was used on August 9th, 1945. The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima was previously referenced with the cover of [A8] ‘Motown Junk’.
McDonald’s – referenced for the second time in three songs, the last time being in [A22] ‘Slash ‘N’ Burn’.
Levi’s – Levi Strauss & Co., an American clothes company founded in 1873 and known for their production of jeans.
Concentration camp – a type of internment camp. The term has become especially associated with their use by Nazi Germany during WWII, but the idea long pre-dated that conflict.