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The Monday Meh! – Manic Street Preachers

Can it really be twenty years since the angry young men spilled from the valleys of Wales, armed only with Clash-style rhetoric and a couple of competent musicians? Well, yes. To a somewhat sceptical press, the Manic Street Preachers arrived claiming to be a combination of Situationist ideas and fierce socialist beliefs. They said they were here to re-invigorate rock and roll and they would split after one album. That was a lie.

The Manics were the surly, attention-seeking miserablists of pre-Britpop British indie. They released ‘Generation Terrorists’ which, despite the posturing, was only okay. It contained one stone cold classic in ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ and a whole bunch of by-the-book shouty rubbish. The music press were always somewhat ambivalent about their obviously shop-bought politics, culminating in Richie Edwards cutting ‘4REAL’ into his arm with a knife in response to the NME’s Steve Lamacq questioning the band’s authenticity. That really showed the press they weren’t all about gimmicks.

From then on they released the poor ‘Gold Against the Soul’ and seemed to be fading, before returning with ‘The Holy Bible’, an album which told of Edwards self-loathing. The band seemed to be split in two – guitarist James Dean Bradfield and drummer Sean Moore could play, while guitarist Edwards and bassist Nicky Wire couldn’t. They provided the look and the tiresome controversy – Wire claiming he hoped that Michael Stipe ‘went the same way’ as Freddie Mercury for example.

‘The Holy Bible’ has been immortalised by generations of morbid goth kids, but it’s rubbish. Edwards tragic disappearance re-inforced the bands outsider image and they cemented their place in rock’s aristocracy with the mega-selling ‘Everything Must Go’ which contained their definitive statement ‘A Design for Life’.  Only one problem – it’s really not very good. Listen to the lyrics again – honestly, you’d laugh a fifteen year old out of court if they came to you with such clunking bollocks.

Since then, they’ve played arenas, released a number of increasingly torpid albums and assumed the mantle of elder statesmen, a sort of indie Rolling Stones.  They’ve always given the impression that they really hate their jobs, but as they return with a new album it’s very hard to escape the conclusion that the MSP are just a well-read garage band who got really lucky in a boom time.

They said twenty years ago that their first album would be their last. The honourable thing to do, it would seem, is to ensure that this latest collection actually is their swansong.

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5 Responses

  1. i saw them live in secc once and they were immense, now live, secc, and immense should never be said in same sentence…i did have a lot of those mini bottles of red wine at the venue though…

  2. That may explain it…..

  3. Ultrashite ; thats what they are .

    Good word , isnt it ?

  4. agree totally……The Holy Bible is a pile of shite despite the press thinking it’s their miesterwork.
    And Nikki Wire is a cocksocket.

  5. He really is.

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