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5 May 2013

Everything Must Go (1996)

This week I have mostly been listening to...

Manic Street Preachers

Back in the days when I used to watch TV, I remember catching a segment on this up-and-coming band called Manic Street Preachers. It will have been somewhere in the mid-to-late 80s. The image that sticks most in my mind was of these young Welsh boys dolling themselves up with make-up. After they'd finished, they looked like a Goth version of the Sweet. Interesting.

The Manic Street Preachers - Post-Punk revolutionaries
Photo courtesy of cherlo holm

Despite a spate of fairly well received albums, the Manics seemed destined to be remembered as a cult band. Fast-forward to 1995 and all that was about to change and it took disaster to spark it.

Following years of personal turmoil, 1995 was the year that the band lost their rhythm guitarist and lynch-pin Richey Edwards. In bizarre fashion, he simply went missing. At first it was felt that he was taking some time out, having been weighed down by the pressures of promotional work. Later came the realisation that he wouldn't be coming back. What on earth had happened?

"Motorcar emptiness: Manics mystery still unsolved"
Photo courtesy of archivedmusicpress

Some time before his disappearance I remember hearing about an incident involving some idiot from the NME where Richey had apparently ended up slashing "4REAL" on his arm with a razorblade. Had the interviewer goaded Richey into this rash act by daring to question Richey's dedication to his art? Or was this more a sad indication of something fundamentally wrong with Richey's state of mind? In all truth, Richey's disappearance wasn't too much of a shock. What was shocking was the fact that he is likely to have ended his life by jumping off the Severn Bridge. Nobody wants to believe it, and even today, nobody knows for sure what happened to Richey James Edwards.

I hate this photo. It shows the infamous slashing
incident. Photo courtesy of richey.tumblr.com

Eventually, the remaining Manics dusted themselves down and attempted to pick up the pieces. In a brave move that typified the band's ethos of forever looking ahead they decided to continue as a three-piece. There would be no looking back trying to relive the past, instead they would stoically embrace change and create something new.

The Manics have released Everything Must Go
containing all of the songs mentioned here and
more. You really have no excuses...
Photo courtesy of thefader

The results of their efforts was the seminal album "Everything Must Go". It was released in 1996 and captured my attention in a way that no previous Manics album had. The sound is a lot more commercial and fuller than what I had come to expect from the boys and I loved that they managed to squeeze in a number of Richey's lyrics as as a sort of tribute to their fallen comrade. The end results are simply stunning.

Manic Street Preachers - Australia - CD1
Australia, Velocity Girl, Take The Skinheads Bowling,
Can't Take My Eyes Off You

This week I have been listening to three CD singles released off the back of this album: Australia, Everything Must Go, and Kevin Carter. It was the inspirational Kevin Carter that first hooked me with its trumpet, of all things. If I remember correctly, it was around this time that record companies were turning a fast trick filling singles with various mixes of the title track. They had us paying through the nose for numerous versions of the same bloody song. Bastards! Thankfully this isn't the case with these CDs; They contain loads of additional songs that didn't appear on the album.

Manic Street Preachers - Kevin Carter - CD1
Kevin Carter, Horses Under Starlight, Sepia, First Republic

If I had to pick one song it would be...

Hanging On

I'm spoilt for choice. I could have easily chosen Kevin Carter, one of the songs that used Richey's lyrics. Kevin Carter was a South African Bang-Bang Club photographer who took his own life in 1994. Perhaps Richey felt some sort of affinity with Kevin? Kevin's suicide note included the following: "I am depressed ... without phone ... money for rent ... money for child support ... money for debts ... money!!! ... I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain ... of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners ... I have gone to join Ken (Oosterbroek) if I am that lucky." As sad as the subject matter is, it really is a beautiful song.


Manic Street Preachers - Everything Must Go - CD1
Everything Must Go, Black Garden, Hanging On,
No-one Knows What It's Like To Be Me

I could have chosen the cover of Camper Van Beethoven's "Take The Skinheads Bowling". It's pretty true to the original, knocked out with Ramones-like ease.

I've plumped instead for "Hanging On". With its Wings inspired middle 8, this is my favourite of bassist Nicky Wire's songs. The lyrics won't ever win awards, but the tune itself just works in bucketfuls. It's sad and uplifting at the same time. That takes some doing!

There you go. On the Triple-B, I'm going to sing all 9 verses of Horses Under Starlight... If only I can remember the words...




8 comments:

  1. I've never listened to
    'Manic Street Preachers' before,
    but the song 'Take the Skinheads Bowling'
    reminded me of a book I read about the causes of modern alienation in society called
    'Bowling Alone' -

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowling_Alone

    So I listened to the You Tube of
    'Camper Van Beethoven's version of
    'Take the Skinheads Bowling'
    and thought maybe this song is an antidote to societies alienation in a metaphorical way,even if on just a subconscious level anyway.
    'Bowling Alone' has always struck me as a great metaphor to the ills of modern society,after all there's little fun in 'Bowling Alone'
    is there ?
    P.S.
    I'm still yet to listen to a
    'Manic Street Preachers' song,
    "Australia' sounds like it might be good though?-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. OK,I just listened to 'Australia' and thought,what the hell was that about?
    It reminded me of the movie
    "The Last Wave"
    (one of my favourite movies BTW) -

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpa__UwuBts

    AUSTRALIA
    I don't know if I'm tired and I don't know if I'm ill
    My cheeks are turning yellow
    I think I'll take another pill

    Praying for the wave to come now
    It must be for the fifteenth time
    I've been here for much too long
    This is the past that's mine

    I want to fly and run till it hurts
    Sleep for a while and speak no words in Australia
    I want to fly and run till it hurts
    Sleep for a while and speak no words in Australia
    In Australia

    Praying for the wave to come now
    It must be for the very last time
    It's twelve o'clock till midnight
    There must be someone to blame

    I want to fly and run till it hurts
    Sleep for a while and speak no words in Australia
    I want to fly and run till it hurts
    Sleep for a while and speak no words in Australia
    In Australia

    Australia, in Australia
    I want to fly and run till it hurts
    Sleep for a while and speak no words in Australia
    In Australia
    In Australia
    In Australia

    I just read while searching for the above lyrics that 'Manic Street Preachers'
    are in Australia for Lions rugby tour -

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-west-wales-22360708

    " Welsh band Manic Street Preachers have announced gigs in Australia so they can follow this summer's 2013 British and Irish Lions tour.
    The "massive rugby fans" describe the prospect of watching the team take on Australia as an "once in a lifetime opportunity".
    The band's song Australia was used in tourist board ad campaigns.
    Bass player Nicky Wire told BBC Radio Wales: "The dangling carrot was that we'd never been to New Zealand. We could go to Australia, see the Lions and hop over to New Zealand.
    "We've never been to New Zealand and we have a lot of Australian fans. It all came together in the most magical way."
    The group called themselves "massive rugby fans" and the chance to play some gigs and watch the Lions play Australia was described as "an amazing once in a lifetime opportunity".
    Wire added: "The Lions are a rare animal to see".
    As for the show audiences, he said there would be a mix of "feather boas" and "middle-aged men in rugby tops"."

    My advice to them would be go see the
    'Brisbane Lions' play instead,as they might have a better chance of seeing a Lions win...and give the NZ leg of the trip a miss,as their mood will be miserable enough by then after watching the Lions play AUSTRALIA.-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can tell that you're secretly impressed by the Manics Daz ;-) Don't fight it
    I like the idea of "Bowling Alone" though my take on Putnam's conclusions is that the US's shit history of political mistakes is more likely to be the cause of lack of political engagement rather than just a lack of social interaction leading to it. These sorts of things happen over generations and start with a disenfranchised youth (and let's face it they are the easiest to disenfranchise). Perhaps this is this really an indication that governments the world over are doing more for the old and rich than the young and poor? Wow - these are deep thoughts for a bank holiday Monday morning.

    Back to the Manics... yep the words often don't make sense and James Bradfield isn't afraid to squeeze them in in strange ways with odd rhythms. That's part of the charm.

    On the Lions tour... the Lions squad has 3 Kiwi-born players... so it will be a bit of a homecoming for the boys.

    Sean Maitland, Dylan Hartley and Mako Vunipola.

    But they haven't got any Aussies... I wonder why ;-)

    Oh dear - I better stop before your "cheeks turn yellow"

    ReplyDelete
  4. Re:
    "the Lions squad has 3 Kiwi-born players..."

    Oh,I was under the impression the Lions might be competitive,so thanks for letting me know that I was wrong.-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh, Manic Street Preachers! Saw then at BDO in high school in Australia. If I'm honest, they were the soundtrack to my last two years of high school in Newcastle (Australia).

    Definite memory lane stuff... and potentially one heck of a sync.

    Fantastic post! Much enjoyed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In case you didn't see the weekend football results Gordon,
      Cronulla Sharks 21 vs Newcastle 20.-)


      Delete
  6. What a fantastic soundtrack Gordon! Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for commenting.

    ReplyDelete
  7. And Daz - you haven't escaped that easy... I just can't think of a clever comeback that's all! :-D

    ReplyDelete