[B77] ‘Mr. Carbohydrate’

Released on: A Design For Life (Single #17) Epic Records, 15 April 1996
Peak UK Chart Position: #2
Band Ranking: #2

CD1 of the hugely successful A Design For Life single contained a generous helping of three new, original B-sides (CD2 being comprised entirely of remixes) of which two went on to be re-released on the 2003 Lipstick Traces compilation. The first of these is the witty, upbeat ‘Mr. Carbohydrate’ which is fairly representative of the kind of slick, accessible rock that would demonstrate the Everything Must Go period but for its untypically amusing lyrics, which are sung from the perspective of a boring, middle-of-the-road individual which Wire was probably basing on himself (he has, in the past, expressed an apparently genuine love of hoovering, after all).

Featuring a nice intro, a very pleasant mixture of acoustic and electric guitars and a playful drum performance from Moore, the song is a major upswing in musical quality when compared with the frequently miserable and insufficiently thought-out efforts that dominated the Holy Bible era. The next few singles, in fact, would all contain some kind of evidence that the band had begun to take B-sides seriously again, as they had intermittently during the periods in which they recorded and released the first two albums.

For all its musical charm, the lasting appeal of this particular B-side is definitely its amusing lyrics, especially “they call me a boring fuckhead / say I might as well work in a bank”, and “cynicism, the only thing that keeps me sane”. Another of the aspects which makes this feel very much like an autobiographical effort by Wire is the reference to cricketer Matthew Maynard – Wire is known to be a huge fan of sports and in something of a mirror image, referencing another sportsman in ‘Prologue to History’, which itself was the first B-side on the first single from the following album.

Although some would perhaps have it thrown out in favour of some of the more cult early B-sides, this wry and entertaining song was surely a wise choice on Lipstick Traces.

Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“people tell me I should get out more / but the TV is my best friend”

Paranoia – a mode of thinking involving persecutory beliefs, i.e. “they are out to get me”.

Hypochondria – an excessive level of worrying about having a serious illness.

Matthew Maynard – (1966 -) English former cricketer and 1998 Wisden Cricketer of the Year.


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