Released on: Everything Must Go (Single #18) Epic Records, 22 July 1996
Peak UK Chart Position: #5
Band Ranking: #24
Compared with [B92] ‘Hanging On’, a similar song in a number of ways, ‘No One Knows What It’s Like to Be Me’ is a touch more experimental. While that other B-side from the same single was marked by its close stylistic similarity to the status quo presented on Everything Must Go as an album, this song has hints in its verses of both the more atmospheric direction the band would take on the next album, and the more electronic elements they would add in the 2002-2004 period. Quite appropriately, the phrase ‘Empty Souls’ is used in the final verse – this was used as a song and single from the very electronic-tinged Lifeblood album in 2004. In another nice link, the line “to all the future that scares me” has parallels with a line in [A83] ‘Everything Must Go’, the A-side for this release. Taken together, these two little references really position this B-side within its historical and stylistic contexts.
Compositionally, the song is a very clear example of the quiet/loud dynamic that is so prominent in ’90s rock. The verses are really very subtle and atmospheric, while the choruses bring in the familiar EMG guitars from Bradfield. It’s in the chorus when it really becomes clear that this is a track which, really, is entirely hanging on one hook, which is just a mildly interesting delivery of the song title. There’s no doubt that ‘No One Knows…’ is a fairly ordinary Manics B-side, but if anything that just underscores the high standard of Manics B-sides in general. Again, not surprisingly absent from Lipstick Traces but a perfectly fine entry among EMG single filler efforts.
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“doctor and dentist, housewife and thief / no one knows what it’s like to be me”