Released on: This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours (Album #5) Epic Records, 14 September 1998
The theme of depression that seems to run through the loose song cycle on This Is My Truth‘s second half is perhaps most explicit on ‘You’re Tender and You’re Tired’. Interestingly, the topic is handled here by having Bradfield sing lyrics from the perspective of someone who is offering understanding and empathy to someone who may just have hit rock bottom emotionally. This puts it in a fairly small category of what we might call consolation songs: ‘Any Major Dude Will Tell You’ by Steely Dan is one notable example, and appears on their album Pretzel Logic (1974). Of course, with these songs the possible subtext is that the singer understands the feeling of sadness because they’ve been there themselves – and it is easy to get that feeling in this case.
As with several songs that surround it on the album, ‘You’re Tender…’ is wonderfully constructed, even as it is very conventional structurally. Nick Nasmyth again makes a huge contribution with his excellent work on piano (the driving instrumental force behind the song) and mellotron. There’s actually a kind of connection here with Don Airey (Deep Purple member and session musician), who worked with Black Sabbath on their 1978 album Never Say Die! – like Airey, Nasmyth was using his keyboard talents to aid an established band who were looking to move further away, at least some of the time, from their heavy reputation. There is also another rare appearance of whistling on a Manics track – not performed by Bradfield, it’s interesting to know, but by session “player” Ken Barry. This is Barry’s one contribution to the record – what a claim to fame! “Yeah, I whistled on a Manic Street Preachers LP once…”
As with so many tracks on the album the vocals and lyrics are wonderful, even as they are a world away from “standard” Manics fare. The chorus is particularly memorable and possibly the best aspect of this appropriately tender, heartfelt song.
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“It’s not trivial like they think / yes you’re desperate and you’re hurt”