[T82] ‘Enola/Alone’

Released on: Everything Must Go (Album #4) Epic Records, 20 May 1996
Track: #4

Marking the beginning on the album of what essentially is the default sound of Everything Must Go, ‘Enola/Alone’ is a particularly melancholic effort characterised by its fairly loose guitar work. The sense of melancholy is found both in the music and the lyrics and comes from the fact that the song was purportedly inspired by an experience of Wire’s – while looking back at his wedding photographs (Wire married his childhood sweetheart Rachel in September 1993) he came across pictures of him with two people who had since passed away, Edwards and the Manics’ co-manager Philip Hall. This all does mean, of course, that the song is the second consecutive one on EMG that is to some extent themed around photography.

The lyrics are also – according to Andrew Male in Select magazine from June 1996 – inspired to some extent by Camera Lucida, a 1980 book on the philosophy of photography by Frenchman Roland Barthes. The key gimmick, if you like, is the use of what you might call inventive palindromes; the title is one, and rellik/killer is another. In what is probably a coincidence, Enola Gay was the name of the aircraft that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan – although, given the Manics’ frequent references to that event in previous songs it can’t be completely ruled out.

It may not do anything particularly interesting instrumentally, but ‘Enola/Alone’ has some fine lyrics and a good vocal performance from Bradfield going for it – in particular, his cry of “please!” just before the the final chorus is a fun and memorable moment. For those keeping track of title punctuation, this song is one of four in the discography to have a slash in the title and the first to be released. This is discounting [E7] ‘Teenage 20/20’.

Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“all I want to do is live / no matter how miserable it is”

References
The Statue of Liberty – famous statue and representation of the concept of liberty that stands on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. Although it is a globally-recognised symbol of the United States, it was designed and built in France and represents a gift from the French people.

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