Released on: Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of Manic Street Preachers (Compilation) Sony Records, 14 July 2003
‘Judge Yr’ Self’ was, it seems, intended to be the band’s sole “release” of 1995. It was written for the soundtrack of Judge Dredd, the first film adaptation of the character published in the weekly British comics anthology 2000AD. The much-maligned film starred Sylvester Stallone and was directed by Danny Cannon. Richey Edwards was a fan of 2000AD and Judge Dredd (as discussed in the entry on [A60] ‘P.C.P.’) but his disappearance left the remaining members in no mood to complete the song, which remained in demo form and was shelved.
For Lipstick Traces, ‘Judge Yr’ Self’ was finally brought out of the archives and given a full mix by Dave Eringa. By 2003, the Judge Dredd film was a distant memory and the song is allowed to stand on its own. A raucous, single-minded and thoroughly thrilling slice of post-punk, the song would actually have been appropriate for inclusion on the soundtrack to the 2012 film Dredd, which had a much more edgy feel than Cannon’s film and which was more faithful to the comics series. The best moment must be the brief but brilliant solo towards the end of the song.
The quite cryptic lyrics are not connected with the film besides their prominent inclusion of the word “judge” and instead serve as another insight into Edwards’ mindset in the period shortly before his disappearance. The fact that self-harm is alluded to in the line “heal yourself, hurt yourself, judge yourself” can easily be imagined to have contributed to the shelving of the song in light of the circumstances. A video for the song, made up of various archive clips, was included on the DVD that was part of the 10th anniversary edition of The Holy Bible.
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“clean your wounds and mock your fears”
Dionysus – Greek god associated with wine and ritual madness among others. Known to the Romans as Bacchus.
‘Judge Yr’ Self’