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Journal For Plague Lovers (Album)

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Journal For Plague Lovers.jpg
Name Journal For Plague Lovers
Tracks 13 + 1 Hidden
Length 42:37
Producer Steve Albini, Dave Eringa
Recorded Rockfield Studios, Monmouth, October 2008 – February 2009
Released 18th May 2009
Formats CD, Deluxe CD, LP
Label Columbia
Chart Position 3
Artwork 'Stare' by Jennie Saville


Standard CD/LP

Track Length
1 Peeled Apples 3:33
2 Jackie Collins Existential Question Time 2:24
3 Me And Stephen Hawking 2:46
4 This Joke Sport Severed 3:04
5 Journal For Plague Lovers 3:45
6 She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach 2:18
7 Facing Page: Top Left 2:40
8 Marlon J.D. 2:50
9 Doors Closing Slowly 2:52
10 All Is Vanity 3:35
11 Pretension/Repulsion 2:05
12 Virginia State Epileptic Colony 3:25
13 William's Last Words 4:15
Bag Lady (Hidden Track) 3:05

Deluxe CD

Remix Album Download/LP

Japanese Exclusive Tracks

Track Length
Alien Orders/Invisible Armies 2:37
Primitive Painters 3:26

Background & Recording

On 4th November 2008 the band posted the following message on their official website: "We thought you would like to know that we have been making music. We have been in the studio with Mr Steve Albini recording live – to tape – analogue – no digital hiss – no Pro Tools – no safety nets. Quite scary, daunting but invigorating. All the songs we are recording are lyrics left to us by Richey. Finally it feels like the right time to use them (especially after the last 18 months being so amazing with Send Away The Tigers). Musically, in many ways it feels like a follow up to the Holy Bible but there is also an acoustic side – tender, romantic, nihilism, “Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky” esque. It’s a record that celebrates the genius of his words, full of love, anger, intelligence and respect. We have to make this great. Wish us luck."


The lyrics are taken from a folder of songs, haikus, collages and drawings Edwards gave to bassist/lyricist Nicky Wire a few weeks before he disappeared. Edwards also gave photocopies of the folder to singer/guitarist James Dean Bradfield and drummer Sean Moore. The band have described the Rymans folder as having a picture of Bugs Bunny drawn on the front emblazoned with the word ‘OPULENCE’. In promotional interviews for the album, Bradfield and Wire have revealed that the folder contains around 28 songs. Four of these appeared on the 1996 album Everything Must Go: "Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier", "Kevin Carter", "Removables" and "Small Black Flowers that Grow in the Sky". Of the rest of the folder, Wire stated: “There’s probably between eight and ten maybe that were too impossible. Some of them are little haikus, four lines. "Dolphin-Friendly Tuna Wars", that’s one, "Alien Orders/Invisible Armies", that’s one [the band have recorded an instrumental that takes its title from this lyric]. "Young Men", which is quite Joy Division. They just didn’t feel right. We’ll probably put them all out in a book one day. There’s not gonna be a Journal for Plague Lovers Two. The special version of the record does come with the original version of the tracks on there. So you can see the editing process, if there is any”.

Several tracks refer to Edwards' time in a couple of hospitals in 1994. Among them is "She Bathed Herself in a Bath of Bleach," of which James Dean Bradfield said to the NME: "There're some people he met when he was in one of the two places having treatment and I think he just digested other people's stories and experiences." The final track, "William's Last Words", has been compared to a suicide note, and although Nicky Wire rejects this suggestion, Bradfield observes "you can draw some pretty obvious conclusions from the lyrics." Wire, who admitted finding the task of editing this song "pretty choking", eventually composed the music and sang lead vocals after Bradfield found himself unsuited to the task. The album features several cultural references, including a passage from the film 'The Machinist', which features in the song 'Peeled Apples' and a passage taken from the film 'The Virgin Suicides' also features in the song 'Doors Closing Slowly'.

The Making Of Documentary


Manic Street Preachers
James Dean Bradfield – lead vocals, guitar, piano on Virginia State Epileptic Colony
Richey Edwards – lyrics
Sean Moore – drums, percussion
Nicky Wire – bass, backing vocals, lead vocals on William's Last Words

Additional personnel
Andy Walters - string arrangement, string player
Katherine Thomas - harp
Joanna Parkhurst - string player
Bernard Kane - string player
Nathan Stone - string player

Sleeve Quotes

  • "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing" - George Bernard Shaw

Generation Terrorists | Gold Against The Soul | The Holy Bible | Everything Must Go | This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours | Know Your Enemy | Lifeblood | Send Away The Tigers | Journal For Plague Lovers | Postcards From A Young Man | Rewind The Film | Futurology | Resistance Is Futile


Forever Delayed | Lipstick Traces | National Treasures


Suicide Alley | UK Channel Boredom | New Art Riot | Motown Junk | You Love Us (Heavenly) | Feminine Is Beautiful | Stay Beautiful | Love's Sweet Exile/Repeat | You Love Us | Slash 'N' Burn | Motorcycle Emptiness | Suicide Is Painless | Little Baby Nothing | From Despair To Where | La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh) | Roses In The Hospital | Life Becoming A Landslide | Faster/P.C.P.| Revol | She Is Suffering | A Design For Life | Everything Must Go | Kevin Carter | Australia | If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next | The Everlasting | You Stole The Sun From My Heart | Tsunami | The Masses Against The Classes | So Why So Sad | Found That Soul | Ocean Spray | Let Robeson Sing | There By The Grace Of God | The Love Of Richard Nixon | Empty Souls | God Save The Manics | Underdogs | Your Love Alone Is Not Enough | Autumnsong | Indian Summer | Ghost Of Christmas | Umbrella | (It's Not War) Just The End Of Love | Some Kind Of Nothingness | Postcards From A Young Man | This Is The Day | Show Me The Wonder | Anthem For A Lost Cause | Walk Me To The Bridge | Europa Geht Durch Mich | Futurology | Together Stronger (C'mon Wales) | International Blue | Distant Colours | Dylan & Caitlin | Liverpool Revisited | Hold Me Like A Heaven

James Dean Bradfield Solo

The Great Western

That's No Way To Tell A Lie | An English Gentleman

The Chamber

Nicky Wire Solo

I Killed The Zeitgeist

The Shining Path | Break My Heart Slowly