Released on: The Masses Against the Classes (Single #25) Epic Records, 10 January 2000
Peak UK Chart Position: #1
Band Ranking: #7
A single as momentous and excellent as [A119] ‘The Masses Against the Classes’ deserves to have a strong primary B-side, and ‘Close My Eyes’ fulfils that role superbly. This very dark and heavy recording is notable in that it is one of Wire’s more autobiographical lyrics, and focuses very much on the negative aspects of the band’s position circa 2000. The previous few years had seen the Manics become one of the biggest rock acts in the UK, but that had brought on a number of unpleasant consequences that the lyrics to ‘Close My Eyes’ touch on in turn. These include legal and financial wrangling, constant touring, the perception that people only attended gigs because the Manics were the band of the moment, and possibly the idea that sales and not the band’s music were the primary focus of the period.
With all this in mind, and especially considering Bradfield’s particularly anguished vocal performance on the track, ‘Close My Eyes’ feels like a fascinatingly voyeuristic look at the darker side of the band’s collective psyche. The music reflects this, being bleak and gritty, and is based mainly on four key elements – a Moore drum loop that is heavily inspired by Ringo Starr’s playing (particularly the Beatles’ 1966 single ‘Paperback Writer’), pounding piano, excellent stinging guitar work from Bradfield, and those gruelling vocals.
The band must also have seen something in this superb and fascinating B-side, as it was included on the Lipstick Traces compilation when so many other songs were left out: it is more than justified.
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“back to reality, back to fuck all”