Released on: Lifeblood (Album #7), Sony Records, 1 November 2004
Also on: Empty Souls (Single #32), Sony Records, 10 January 2005
Peak UK Chart Position: #2
First heard on Lifeblood, ‘Empty Souls’ was later to serve as the second and final A-side of the album’s promotional campaign – it would perform similarly to the first, reaching a peak of #2 on the UK singles chart in January 2005.
While very much focused on the subjects of death and emotional trauma, ‘Empty Souls’ is one of the most upbeat and bright-sounding songs on the album. Built upon a pretty, ringing piano figure, Moore’s varied drums and background guitar textures, the song has a very specific and spacious atmosphere, particularly in the instrumental sections.
Particularly in its chorus, the song seems to deal lyrically with an effort to describe the indescribable. That chorus famously features the line “collapsing like the twin towers”, a clear reference to the terrorist attacks of September 2001 which was considered sensitive enough to be replaced on the single version. However, the line “collapsing like dying flowers” hardly has the same impact. The original line was preserved on the LP version.
While the lyrics carry the trait of repetition which bedevilled much of the Lifeblood period (particularly its B-sides), ‘Empty Souls’ is an atmospheric and attractive song probably deserving of its A-side release. In their concern with “empty souls” and “ghosts” respectively, this song and the later Lifeblood song ‘To Repel Ghosts’ seem like loose companion pieces.
Unfortunately, the song was lumbered with a bewilderingly dull video by Alex Smith which sees the band put in a half-hearted performance in an anonymous room, interspersed with various other banal scenes.
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“shivering like black-eyed dogs”
Twin towers – the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. The towers began construction at the end of the 1960s and were, for a brief period, the tallest in the world.