Released on: Faster / P.C.P. (Single #13) Epic Records, 6 June 1994
Peak UK Chart Position: #16
Band Ranking: #1
The Holy Bible era was very light on B-sides, producing only five – of which two were covers. ‘Sculpture of Man’ was the first to be released and the only one to reappear on the Lipstick Traces compilation. At just 1:55, it is among the shortest Manics tracks ever recorded and in some ways feels like quite a perfunctory effort.
The song takes the form of an almost hysterically amped-up rock explosion sandwiched between calm, acoustic-led intro and outro sections (acoustic guitars being essentially completely relegated to B-sides in this period). The clipped, vulgar lyrics are nowhere near extensive enough to put across a complex message, but seem to be about the contrast between real and fake, authentic and synthetic.
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“cheap entertainment sold like a new deodorant”
World War III – a hypothetical future global conflict likened to World Wars I and II.
Sega – a Japanese multinational videogames company originally founded in 1940 to make jukeboxes and slot machines.
Dachau – the first Nazi concentration camp to be located in Germany.
Flanders – a region of Belgium mainly known for having been devastated during World War I.
Burger King – a global fast food chain oriented around burgers based in Miami, Florida, United States, founded in 1953.
British Museum – one of the most extensive museums in the world, located on Great Russell Street, London.
Wills and Harry – Princes William and Harry, second and third in line to succession of the British throne and the sons of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales. The lyric mentioning them seems somewhat tasteless given Diana’s subsequent death in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
Athena – a retail chain founded in 1964 famous for its posters and postcards that closed down shortly after The Holy Bible was released, in 1995. One of its most famous posters was L’Enfant, which depicted a male model cradling a baby and was hugely popular, typifying the 1990s “sexy but sensitive” New Man aesthetic. Not so sensitive himself, the model took advantage of his fame by – supposedly – sleeping with 3,000 women.