Manic Street Preachers-Forever Delayed-The
By Phil Rose esq
Big Bro sent me this double CD ‘to remind you why you loved them
in the first place’. And I suppose it does do that but oh, so
infrequently. It does a much better job of reminding me why I so frequently
despair of the Manics.
How many great songs are there on this album? How many really great
songs? Let’s count them shall we? By my reckoning it’s five.
You Love Us, The Masses Against the Classes, Faster, Little Baby Nothing
and Motown Junk. That’s a 25% hit rate on a ‘greatest hits’
album (I’m not counting remixes because they’re a dumb idea).
To find genuine fire and fury (You Love Us and Motown Junk) amidst the
soft soap, chart friendly fluff does accentuate the brilliance of the
minority but also shows of the awfulness of the majority. And the Manics
can be a truly awful band. Maybe it’s just that I placed too much
hope in them in the first place. I wanted them to release more and more
and more songs with the venom and honesty of Motown Junk. But they didn’t
and that makes their fall into pop so much harder to bear.. I’ve
never heard There By The Grace of God before and if I never hear it
again it will be too soon.
I was reading the NME special edition, cash-in Manics supplement and
my eye fell upon a quote from James Dean Bradfield. ‘I never want
to hear Revol again. That song is dog-shit’. What, as opposed
to ‘Australia’, you mean?
I just don’t understand the Manics. Either they’re so full
of energy and anger or they’re dead in the water (if you’ll
pardon the expression). All their attitude and vim from 91-92, Generation
Terrorists/Holy Bible era, when stripped away, leaves a band that find
it difficult to really produce the goods.
The Manics were such a wonderful dream but I fear I have utterly woken
up. Now I am resting all my hopes on the Virgin Suicides to resurrect
that dream. But they’ll probably turn shite too and forget what
they were all about to begin with, grow beer guts and swathe themselves
in the flag of the nation they started out despising. They're like a
once great friend who has joined the Conservative party and keeps phoning
you up to rub it in by extolling the virtues of the free market. Ah
me, dumb flag scum anyone? I guess that’s Mr. Wire now.