[T50] ‘Symphony of Tourette’

Released on: Gold Against the Soul (Album #2) Columbia Records, 14 June 1993
Track: 9

It’s unfortunate, in a way, that the fiftieth track released by the Manics should go on to have such a poor reputation. ‘Symphony of Tourette’ is built around a lyric written by Edwards about Tourette (or Tourette’s) syndrome, a neuropsychiatric disorder involving involuntary movements or ‘tics’ and in rare cases, involuntary swearing known as coprolalia. Edwards’ lyric reflects his thought that the syndrome causes people to seem to be saying “what everyone else secretly wants to say”, the lyric is all too easily read as just another crass misrepresentation of a widely misunderstood and complicated condition.

Also not helpful to the standing of ‘Symphony of Tourette’ is that is undoubtedly one of the most laughable and ridiculous Manics songs on a number of levels. The lyrics and delivery of the chorus (“children can be cruel she said / so I smashed her in the fucking head”) and the metal-esque, comically overwrought nature of the actual music strongly imply that the track wasn’t being taken entirely seriously. The weakest moment on Gold Against the Soul, ‘Symphony of Tourette’ is best thought of as three and a half minutes of dumb fun, more useful for its comedy value than for any kind of serious musical or lyrical statement.

Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“when you’re this numb news don’t register”

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