100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s #22 The Jesus & Mary Chain – Never Understand

Released: 1985

Straight outta’ East Kilbride, the brothers Reid were like nothing Britain had ever heard or seen before, a deathly pale conflation of sheet feedback, the Beach Boys and sink estate dystopia. Their set up was one of total simplicity, with Jim sang, William mangled everything at the highest volume possible, bass player Douglas Hart limited his virtuosity to two strings, whilst drums were latterly taken care of by one Bobby Gillespie.

The music they made reflected the nihilism they felt, rare glimpses of sunshine completely smothered by the unlistenable, drawing in and driving away listeners at the same time. Their early gigs were extreme to the point of performance art; the band would sit cross legged with their backs to the audience, play for twenty minutes max and then leave, sparking riots at more than one venue.

Never Understand was a weird sort of anthem, the opening lines The sun comes up, another day begins/ And I don’t even worry about the state I’m in/My head’s so heavy and I’m looking thin/ But when the sun goes down I’m gonna start again capturing the existence of many disenfranchised teenagers with nothing to do and nowhere to do it at. Listen to it or not, it seemed like they didn’t care, but boy, we did.

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