Released on: The Holy Bible (Album #3) Epic Records, 29 August 1994
The Holy Bible is often thought of as a particularly political Manics LP, but as should have become clear by now there is a rich vein of the personal running through the album. It is this trend which makes the record slightly less of a radical shift from Gold Against the Soul than it is often made out to be, and ‘Die in the Summertime’ is one of the songs which most clearly expresses it. Along with [T69] ‘4st 7lb’, this is one of the songs which Wire felt was most influenced by Edwards’ state of mind.
Like [A44] ‘La Tristesse Durera’ before it, the song is partly concerned with the process of ageing, which in Edwards’ view tends to make people find little value in the memories of their adult lives and instead retreat into idealised recollections of their childhood. Appropriately given the line “childhood pictures redeem / clean and so serene”, photographs of the band members when they were children were printed inside the Holy Bible booklet next to the lyrics to the song. The first verse of the song covers slightly different ground, detailing a figure’s attempts to stave off or prevent the inevitability of change, of which ageing forms a part. The title comes from the wishes of the character about whom Edwards was writing, an old man who wants to literally “die in the summertime” because it is that season that reminds him of his long-departed youth. All of this is clearly quite bound up in the theme of regret, which is quite a key element of The Holy Bible in general.
‘Die in the Summertime’ is one of the more musically conventional tracks on the album, and but for the menacing guitar tones it might have sat quite comfortably on Gold Against the Soul, given its deceptively buoyant melody and a particularly anthemic chorus. A demo of the song was released with the album’s tenth anniversary edition, but it isn’t particularly notable – it adds some probably unwise echo to Bradfield’s vocals and comes to an even more surprisingly abrupt stop.
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“I have crawled so far sideways I / recognise dim traces of creation”