As the good God, Matt Cardle, what have you done to Biffy Clyro debate rages on, it seems worth pointing out that regardless of who is singing it, Many of Horror/When We Collide isn’t actually a very good song. True, Cardle’s version is completely neutered, but it’s a neutered cover of a song that didn’t have balls to begin with.
The outcry seems to be largely based around an X Factor winner tackling a rock song, but it’s the drippiest end of the rock spectrum: Diana Vickers’ Once has more bite than anything Biffy Clyro have offered up in recent memory (see Folding Stars and Machines for further proof).
In fact, as edgy as Biffy’s fans may think the song is, no amount of lyrics about bruises can disguise the fact that melodically, Many of Horror is actually pretty typical of X Factor winners’ songs: the muted verse, the big chorus, plenty of opportunity for long high notes. As a successor to Joe McElldery’s cover of Miley Cyrus’ The Climb, it’s not as baffling as it may appear.
When Cardle sang the song in the final, Louis Walsh said it could be a number one record, but of course, the original wasn’t, and the fans propelling the original into the top ten (for the first time) are pretty much playing straight into Cowell and co’s hands, once again ensuring maximum publicity for the song in all its forms.
Perhaps the choice, then, was designed to invoke as much outrage as possible, and given that Biffy Clyro are a band who have been accused of completely changing their sound the moment major labels finally came knocking, this is the ultimate salt in the wound for their fans. Is this the punishment for – gulp – selling out? And if punishment means an indecently healthy PRS cheque at Christmas time, is it a bad thing? Surely their die-hard fans would realise that their beloved band needs to make money to survive, and this is about the most they could hope for. Plus there is always the possibility that on hearing Cardle’s version (and ignoring the fact that he is a far, far better singer than Simon Neil), people may be tempted to seek out the original, and new Biffy fans may be born.
Honestly, there wasn’t this much fuss when Alexandra Burke murdered Hallelujah. Perspective, please…