Released on: Know Your Enemy (Album #6) Epic Records, 19 March 2001
April 26th, 1937: Nazi Germany’s “Condor Legion” and Fascist Italy’s Aviazione Legioniara bomb and largely destroy the Basque town of Guernica (or Gernika) in northern Spain in one of the most significant events of both the Spanish Civil War and the early history of aerial bombardment. The event inspired various contemporary works of art, including Pablo Picasso’s famous painting Guernica.
Another of Know Your Enemy’s most storming and aggressive tracks, ‘My Guernica’ is surely inspired both by the destruction of the town (making it the second Manics song concerned with the Spanish Civil War after [A100] ‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’) and Picasso’s painting (in keeping with KYE’s heavy emphasis on art and painting). However, both of these are mainly used as metaphors for the internal personal turmoil with which the song is largely concerned – the lyrics have Bradfield sing of being aware of his own insignificance in a chaotic and inconsequential world (“I’m nothing in this universe / nothing but pieces of dust”).
The music perfectly reflects the chaos of the song’s theme, as well as exemplifying the closest thing KYE has to a dominant style – ragged, harsh guitars, gritty production, and electronic effects for added atmosphere in the verses. Particularly because of Moore’s drums and Bradfield’s fine vocal, there’s a real sense of drama seeping from every pore of this song. On either side of a suitably scathing solo, Bradfield is fascinating as a man whose world is falling apart around him. There’s even a false ending with a snippet of studio chat that leads in to a curious outro and fadeout, a an interesting conclusion to this angry, desperate song which so nicely sums up KYE in a nutshell.
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“the mirror man has seen defeat”
Alfred J. Prufrock – a corruption of sorts of the name of the main character in T.S. Eliot’s famous 1915 poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. The poem shares many themes with ‘My Guernica’, including its sense of isolation and frustration.
Pour myself another icebreaker – an icebreaker is a type of cocktail, which tends to contain tequila, Cointreau, grapefruit juice, and grenadine.