Released on: Generation Terrorists (Album #1) Columbia Records, 10 February 1992
Nestled away almost at the very end of the mammoth Generation Terrorists, ‘Methadone Pretty’ was never likely to get the attention it deserved. It actually isn’t difficult to imagine this song being released as a single, perhaps in place of something less substantial like [A22] ‘Slash ‘N’ Burn’. It has a catchy chorus, innovates a little in its quieter moments and soaring middle section (“I accuse history, I accuse…”) and has a fairly interesting set of lyrics to boot.
Because of its title the song has occasionally been used to level at the Manics an accusation that they were trying to glamorise drug use; it is much more likely that they were satirising that very glamorisation which was certainly happening in the early 1990s. Methadone is probably being used as a metaphor for or example of the kinds of goods capitalism encourages consumers to want to buy, even if those same products are destroying them (whether it be cigarettes, alcohol or even loans). This self-destructive tendency is probably the closest thing to a unifying idea across the whole of Generation Terrorists, being mentioned or alluded to in various songs.
“intentional destruction germ / eats your thoughts and makes you happy”
Methadone – synthetic opiate drug used as a treatment to help addicts wean themselves off heroin.
Xerox – American multinational company known for manufacturing products like printers and photocopying. “To Xerox” has become a general term for photocopying.
“I am nothing and should be everything” – the first line of ‘Methadone Pretty’ is taken from Karl Marx’s work ‘Introduction to a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right‘ (1844). The critique itself was never completed.