Released on: This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours (Album #5) Epic Records, 14 September 1998
Of all the songs the Manics have released since Edwards’ disappearance in 1995, there have been several which have touched on that subject, but few which have confronted it as directly as ‘Nobody Loved You’. It makes sense, then, that the song represents the single biggest emotional and musical release on This Is My Truth and that it arrives just before the album’s final song. It also marks the end of the informal “song cycle” of excellent tracks – Truth‘s closing track simply does not approach the heights that are achieved for the last time here.
Wire has described the song as being in the vein of Nirvana circa their massive hit album Nevermind, released in 1991. There’s definitely some truth to this, not least in the song’s usage of that band’s fabled “quiet/loud” dynamic. The more aggressive moments in this song are a jarring break with almost all the rest of the album, which has been as much about mature and atmospheric pop as it has been about “rock” per se. ‘Nobody Loved You’ is absolutely a rock song, however – a surging, angry one which driven by guitars and especially Moore’s drums. It all makes perfect sense given the weight of emotion the track carries with it. The purity and straightforwardness of the song is also underscored by the fact that no exotic instruments are used, unusual on Truth.
While the song definitely focuses that emotion towards the departed Edwards, the title is ironic in that the missing lyricist had a great many people around him who cared about his welfare. With this in mind, the operative line is surely “nobody loved you / like me” (emphasis mine) which underscores the personal hurt experienced by Wire. There are a lot of somewhat unnerving images and ideas in the song, particularly the lines “it’s unreal now you’re gone / but at least you belong”. As pointed out by Flint, the song also refers to cherry blossoms which are known to die at the height of their beauty; a eerie parallel to Edwards’ disappearance, you might say.
Presumably because of its undoubted rock credentials – and perhaps in spite of the highly personal nature of the lyrics – ‘Nobody Loved You’ was released as a single in Japan. In that country it replaced [A103] ‘The Everlasting’ and was released with the same cover and B-sides that had been used for the UK release of that single. This is one of just two occasions on which this replacement has occurred in Japan, the other case being the replacement of [A81] ‘Kevin Carter’ with [T89] ‘Further Away’.
The Manics would not release another song that was obviously concerned with the issue of Edwards’ disappearance until [T173] ‘Cardiff Afterlife’ in 2004.
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“it’s unreal now you’re gone / but at least you belong”