Released on: Lifeblood (Album #7), Sony Records, 1 November 2004
Even when Lifeblood is at its most political, it remains highly emotional and personal. ‘Emily’ is possibly the peak of the album’s political engagement, but in focusing principally on women’s suffrage icon Emmeline Pankhurst (1858 – 1928), it remains firmly rooted in human experience. In the succinct line “the relics, the ghosts are down so many roads”, the song recalls not only the ghosts mentioned in other Lifeblood tracks but also the history and geography of the struggle for women’s suffrage in the UK and elsewhere.
In true Lifeblood style the track is subtle, sophisticated and mature: Moore’s jazzy drums in the verses stand out, and at times the song threatens to enter a crescendo akin to that of the previous track, [T167] ‘To Repel Ghosts’. The chorus is particularly uplifting, switching to a more universal message – a warning, almost (“it’s what you forget that kills you”) – which is likely a reference to the oft-forgotten stories of Pankhurst and others like her. The morphing of “Emmeline” into “Emily” slightly obfuscates the song’s meaning, but was presumably done as the shortened version would scan more effectively. ‘Emily’ is a fine opening to Lifeblood‘s second half.
The Patrick Jones video for the song uses the demo version of the track – in the tradition of Manics demos, it barely differs at all from the final recording.
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“it’s what you forget that kills you”