Released on: The Love of Richard Nixon (Single #31), Sony Records, 18 October 2004
Poignancy is no substitute for a good song, as ‘Askew Road’ demonstrates. After the weak, maudlin and repetitious [B159] ‘Everything Will Be’, the Richard Nixon single could really have used a strong B-side: instead, there is the weak, maudlin, and repetitious ‘Askew Road’.
It is poignant, at least. For one thing, Askew Road is a real place in London’s Shepherd Bush where the Manics once stayed with long-time manager Martin Hall and his wife Terri. More significant is a Richey Edwards voice clip, in which he explains that the Manics were not interested in earning the admiration of other bands. It is pleasing to hear, but it really doesn’t have anything to do with the song and, looked upon with only a little cynicism, could be seen as a cheap move to kill time.
The song is, musically, little more than a few ambient strums. Nicky Wire’s repetitive lyrics here begin to seem like part of a significant slump in ability or bout of writer’s block – the same issue is present on other Lifeblood-era B-sides. A historical curio it may be, but ‘Askew Road’ is a long, long way short of being a highlight among B-sides.
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“always facing hostility and doubt”