Released on: The Love of Richard Nixon (Single #31), Sony Records, 18 October 2004
Like [B161] ‘Quarantine (In My Place Of)’ before it, ‘Voodoo Polaroids’ sounds nothing at all like the music on the Lifeblood album and may not have been a product of the same sessions. However, as simple as it may be this final, fifth B-side on the huge The Love of Richard Nixon single is a real joy – especially for a song about capital punishment.
With this song the Manics return to the topic of the infamous [T68] ‘Archives of Pain’ but the tone is vastly different. Built on the course, simple rock approach of ‘Quarantine’ and much of the Know Your Enemy album, ‘Voodoo Polaroids’ is upbeat, almost bouncy. Bradfield’s delivery of the title phrase is particularly engaging.
In their frequent mentions of revenge and vengeance, the song’s lyrics are arguably making the point that capital punishment is more intended as a form of retribution than one of justice. Some of the terms used in the song primarily bring to mind the United States; “jail” is a fairly archaic term in British English but one in frequent American usage to refer to short-term holding facilities (a prison being solely for convicted individuals). Lethal injections and the electric chair, are also mentioned in the song, have both been used in the United States.
‘Voodoo Polaroids’ is not a world away from the lyrically disappointing songs on the Richard Nixon single – it still contains a lot of repetition, for one thing – but it does more than enough to distinguish itself as one of the best songs on the single (including the A-side itself).
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“Vengeance is god”