Certain Songs #772: The Jesus and Mary Chain – “Everything’s Alright When You’re Down”

Album: Barbed Wire Kisses
Year: 1987

Because each of the first two Jesus and Mary Chain albums (and really, I guess, all of their subsequent albums) were intended to capture a mood, they had plenty of songs left over to stick on the b-sides of their singles.

So it wasn’t really a shock when only a few months after Darklands they put out an album collecting those b-sides, covers, outtakes, and non-album singles.

And while Barbed Wire Kisses doesn’t really hold together, it was great for completists like me, even if I already owned some of the material, like their earliest single “Upside Down.”

That said, my favorite song was one of the b-sides of “Happy When It Rains,” the driving, noisy “Everything’s Alright When You’re Down,” which served as one last taste of the feedback layers vs. candy-coated melodies that dominated Psychocandy.

With the rhythm guitars roaring like a motorbike and the goddamned drum machine providing a reasonable-enough simulacrum of what Bobby Gillespie did on Psychocandy, it was a real thrill as William Reid spread the tasty feedback glaze all over the donut-sweet chorus sung by Jim Reid.

I now have hit the ground
And just look at what I found
Everything is alright when you’re down, hey hey

Strange as it can seem
Like livin’ in a scream
Everything is alright when you’re down, hey hey

In the end, they even unleash another “doo doo doo doo doo doo” verse and a rip-roaring scream, and while it’s clearly skating along the verge of parody, “Everything’s Alright When You’re Down” also serves as reminder of just how smart a choice it was they they went in a completely different direction with Darklands.

It also probably didn’t hurt that I was down again during the spring of 1988, having moved back to my dad’s for the second time after another relationship and another roommate situation imploded at the same time.

“Everything’s Alright When You’re Down”

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