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December 2020 / January 2021

Ten years of ‘Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever'

As the band prepare to take it out on tour, we celebrate one of the very best albums of the noughties.
Published: 5:57 pm, February 14, 2017
Ten years of ‘Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever'
By 2007 The Cribs had firmly established themselves as one of the most thrilling bands in the UK. With their 2003 self-titled debut and 2005's classic ‘The New Fellas', the Wakefield trio had begun to make their mark. Oh, and singer and guitarist Ryan even found time to invent Live 8. Trust us; this is a fact.

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Leaving behind destruction, bloody-lipped carnage and some of the most exciting gigs you could hope to see, the Jarman brothers were poised to take things to the next level. Nobody quite expected them to make the step up that they did on their now ten-year-old masterpiece ‘Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever', though.

Their third album is all The Cribs' greatness distilled into one killer collection of songs. Whip-smart lyrics, heart-on-sleeve passion and some incredible pop melodies make this the enduring go to Cribs album. It was clear from the beginning of its creation that they wanted to make a statement. Decamping from Wakefield to Vancouver, Canada with Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos in tow as producer (how about that for a coup?) the band knew they were armed with their best songs yet and proceeded to hone them into pure indie rock gold.

The singles are the obvious standouts, ‘Men's Needs' is their highest charting single, reaching the heady heights of Number 17 and remains an iconic indie anthem. If you want an example of the perfect alchemy that makes the Jarman brothers such a special band, then ‘I'm A Realist' does the trick. The vocal interplay between singers Ryan and Gary is at the heart of everything brilliant about The Cribs.

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In keeping with their bristling, combative nature, ‘Men's Needs…' features the kind of sharp commentary on the contemporary music scene and its insidious cliques and tired clichés that The Cribs were known for. As outspoken as ever, ‘Our Bovine Public' is an illustration of the corporate, identikit landfill that The Cribs battled to overcome.

There was one song though on the album that towered above everything else and can be considered one the greatest songs of the decade: ‘Be Safe' is The Cribs' grand statement. Conceived as a spoken word piece voiced by legendary Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, it's a sprawling piece of epic genius featuring a stirring chorus hook-tattooed on the bodies of countless Cribs fans. Music is the lifeblood of so many people and for Cribs fans the words "I know a place we can go where you'll fall in love so hard that you wish you were dead" will always be their mantra. It's a special lyric that represents the cult fandom that has made The Cribs so enduring.

It's fitting that the band are now heading out on tour to perform 'Men's Needs...' and commemorate a special time in their existence. The album was a jumping off point for all sorts of adventures and new experiences, and even new members with ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr such a fan that he even briefly joined the band. The Cribs continued to push on following ‘Men's Needs...' and further established themselves as national treasures. In typical Jarman fashion, they've never been prone to nostalgia - but we'll forgive them this indulgence. Let's look forward to punching our arms into the sky, bursting out those glorious words and celebrating the best time of our lives.

The Cribs tour 'Men's Needs, Women's Needs, What' this spring. Catch them at:

11 Glasgow ABC
12 Manchester Academy
13 Birmingham Institute
15 Newcastle Academy
16 Bristol Academy
18 London Forum
20 Leeds Arena

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