Author Topic: Does anyone actually think "This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours" is a good album titl  (Read 6234 times)

Johnny Textface

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A fresh place to discuss the trials and tribulations of 'Manic Street Preachers". Please answer in the format as follows:

1. What they mean now?
2. What they meant then?
3. What they meant in the 90's?


lol


Nye Bevan quote.

Johnny Textface

  • Currently batting for Trevor
I'm not familiar with that.

Chriddof

  • Sad mammal.
What's the deal with that Wiki page? I see it's actually like that at time of writing. They don't appear to have split.

Anyway, I'm going to try and answer this but I refuse to do it in a list format. So: I feel kind of ambiguous towards them today. Really liked them as an angsty (etc etc) teen circa 1994 / 95, who had no idea of the horrors the 21st Century would bring. Nowadays I just feel a bit turned off by a lot of their output. Early on they're just bad teenage poetry over re-heated GnR stylings - that's not an original observation, but it sums it up best.

They do have songs made later on that I remain fond of, but they feel too tied to the mid  / late 90s for me to properly revisit - memories of LADs roaring "WE ONLY WANT TO GET DRUNK" at discos as if it were the only line in that song, for a start. Then there was the pretentiousness of some of the fans (again, the teenage poetry thing), and Steven Wells wanking on about them in a fashion the group themselves must have found faintly embarrassing.

Despite the fact that I was aware of them before this point, to me they belong to the same extended cultural moment that includes Euro 96, Diana dying, the Gallaghers' faces gazing blankly at you everywhere you turned, and Blair and Chris Evans (not the Captain America one) being popular. I feel that the vile spirit of 1996 claimed them as its own, which is deeply unfair of me but I can't shake those associations.

I've not heard any of their more recent albums, though maybe I ought to try the Albini-recorded one with Richey's remaining lyrics.

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
Yeah, I like it. Mind you, I also like Know Your Enemy, so what do I know?

Haven't bought or heard an album since Lifeblood but I believe they're either attempts to go back to their roots or to be really commercial. In sequential order

Shaky

  • I drink your thread
Yeah, I like it. Mind you, I also like Know Your Enemy, so what do I know?

Haven't bought or heard an album since Lifeblood but I believe they're either attempts to go back to their roots or to be really commercial. In sequential order

Yeah, Lifeblood, to me, is their last essential album. It's really, really grown on me over the years and the almost ambient sheen works beautifully. Every LP since then has been patchy, but with two or three - sometimes more! - absolute stonkers. Journal For Plague Lovers will always go down as a missed opportunity, I think. They get the old punky fire back here and there but it all seems a bit rushed and uncertain.

I think they still have it as an entity, it just needs harnessing. There's an astonishing album in them yet.

Bradfield's solo album from last year is lovely. That man's a fucking treasure.

Back to the topic, TIMTTMY is pretty dreary and like Chriddof says, I find it too bound to a certain late 90's malaise to ever manage look beyond that. Possibly my fault and not the band's. Again, there's no denying the power of a handful of those tunes.

Inspector Norse

  • I bash the Bishop well.
What's the deal with that Wiki page?

Subtle comment on their stylistic move into Radio 2 dad-MOR?

Liked them a lot as a teen, ”grew out of them” later and not listened for years. Nothing really wrong with that, rock music is for the young.
Not listened to anything they’ve released this century. I feel a bit like they had their moment of popularity and relevance 25 years ago, and are still going as fan service, much like the majority of bands that carry on for more than a decade. Only a handful can remain a creative and commercial force.
Went back and listened to The Holy Bible and a few other bits a while ago and couldn’t get back into it.

There was always an awkwardness to the lyrics, some powerful lines lost amongst messy screeds. They have some moments that still stand out and are fun to play on the guitar, for example ’La Tristessa Durera’.

It's not a good album title, regardless of intent.

Got some affinity for the record for a couple of reasons: i. I saw them touring it and I enjoyed the show (it was my second ever big gig). ii. My dad, who is a club singer in the Gerry St. Clair/Vic Reeves mould, took to the record and started doing a couple of the songs in his sets amongst old crooner classics and chicken-in-a-basked fare.

The band has gone from teenage obsession to a group of guys I rarely think of these days.

I took "Gold against the Soul" on a holiday to France in 2006 and ended up loving it
and playing it over and over. I always meant to get into their last 15 years of stuff. I like their big rockier anthem stuff.

purlieu

  • Gertrude Stein said that's enough.
Still one of my favourite bands. Don't really like the Richey era, although I can't deny The Holy Bible is quite powerful in places. But generally it's all quite angsty and adolescent and that never really did it for me, even when I was an angsty adolescent. TIMTTMY is my favourite album of theirs, a gorgeous, atmospheric, widescreen record full of really moving songs. Everything Must Go and Lifeblood are utterly superb pop albums. Know Your Enemy is a patchy mess, but I've learned to like it for what it is.
The late '00s period was a bit bleak, Send Away Your Tigers, Journal for Plague Lovers and Postcards From a Young Man all feel like very intentional attempts to recapture past glories, although Journal has some truly excellent songs on it (even if it ended up sounding more like KYE than THB). Since then I think they've been on a roll again. Rewind the Film and Futurology feel pretty different to their earlier works, and are full of brilliant songs. Resistance is Futile, appalling title aside, is pretty solid, a first half of straight-forward but really good Manics singles, the second side combining their rockier end with the weirder / atmospheric elements of Futurology and Lifeblood. 'Vivian' is still fucking terrible, though.

rue the polywhirl

  • eight lives left
A lot of their early sloganeering stuff is pretty cringey and not a lot after 2000 really cuts it so Everything Must Go and This Is My Truth really are the sweet spot for the group. Gold Against The Soul has aged the best out of their first 3 albums so that along with EMG and THMTTMY would be their Holy triumvirate for me.

I quite like TIMTTMY, think there's a lot of good material on it. Was absolutely baffled when they took Nobody Loved You off the reissue and replaced it with Prologue To History because for me that's one of the songs that demonstrates James Dean Bradfield's ability to be both Freddie Mercury and Brian May in one tiny Welshman, and it's incredibly moving: I've come to associate it with one of my own best friends who went missing and was later found dead. Born A Girl is an absolutely belting song and performance as well and one that resonates with me given my own fraught gender identity. Ready For Drowning is the song that should've been the huge hit rather than Tolerate in my eyes (and ears); the use of the sample of Richard Burton in The Medusa Touch, absolutely spot on. I like Lifeblood for the same reason as I like TIMTTMY but I think its a lot more consistent: 1985 should've been the first pick for a single over The Love of Richard Nixon although I like the Manics best in slightly post-punky mode.

From Lifeblood on I think the demos they release alongside the records have quite often been better than the finished product, particularly for Futurology which is the only post-Lifeblood record I've kept hanging around: I mean compare the Velvetsy beauty of Nicky Wire's demo for Divine Youth to the slightly over-polished, wispy version on record.

The early sloganeering stuff like Generation Terrorists I like because it's just, for want of a better word, cute. I like hearing Richey Edwards lilting voice and seeing his beautiful doe eyes as he talks about how everything is utterly valueless. I like the shitty sounding drum machine, the needless guitar pyrotechnics and that James sounds about 12. Then The Holy Bible is one of my favourite records by anyone, and parts of it are comparable to the like of Swans: this isn't the sort of thing I expected when I picked it up second hand, and its the record that got me into the band.

markburgle

  • A flavourless mush I call Rootmarm
My theory used to be that they only ever packed a punch when they were responding to real tragedy in their own lives (i.e. Richey). Holy Bible, EMG and Journal For Plague Lovers are all in one way or another fuelled by the breakdown/disappearance of Richey, and are their only great albums. The rest of the time it's more like they're a band just for the sake of it - mere politics doesn't drive them to the same heights.

The theory breaks down a bit with the better half of KYE, and most of Futurology is really great too. It would've been even better if they hadn't written it at the same time as the previous record though - bits of it sound under cooked.

They always say that they're two bands and they pivot back and forth - commercial rockers vs spiky* contrarians. I'd argue they're actually 3 bands - a stadium rock band, an AOR band, and a spiky contrarian band. You can generally predict what the next record will be like by tracing back - RIF = stadium rock, Futurology = spiky/contrarian, so we're most likely due a boring post-middle aged load of snoozy old bollocks in the Lifeblood/Truth/Rewind vein.

*Spikiness obviously being relative. A fan of Throbbing Gristle may find their version of spikiness somewhat adorable

As an aside, a while ago I watched the documentary that the sample at the start of 4st 7lb was taken from, and it's the most upsetting documentary I've ever seen in my life.

I took "Gold against the Soul" on a holiday to France in 2006 and ended up loving it
and playing it over and over. I always meant to get into their last 15 years of stuff. I like their big rockier anthem stuff.

That's the first one of theirs I got and still my favourite, although it seems to be not very well regarded. Love Holy Bible, Generation Terrorists has some standout tracks but not enough quality to warrant the length. Their music hasn't grabbed me since and I found their shift from camo and makeup to looking like Argos sports casual models a bit weird.

I love the general sound of the album but it can be a bit of a slog, especially the 2nd half of the album.

It's clearly the point at time where they were given the money to indulge their musical side and its the first manics album where the music is allowed to take centre stage (and I can imagine that was great for JDB after having to shoehorn those early lyrics into a melody). I really like it's expansive /wide-screen sound, and it probably fair to say that one of the reasons they haven't gone back to that sound much is because they got it so right on this album at times, but with some of the slower tracks like Be Natural and I'm Not Working it all gets a bit too bogged down and dull for me.

The recent anniversary edition was interesting as there have always been stories that Be Natural was considered the 'next big hit' before they started recording (with If You Tolerate This seen as being too weak to even make the album). I could never get my head around that until hearing the demo which has a thumping Led Zeppelin-esque bass line and a much faster tempo. Christ knows how they ended up with the plodding album version.

I usually go back to the bsides ,more than the album, as they have a lot more energy to them. Prologue to History, Montana Autumn 78, Socialist Serenade and Valley Boy (probably my favourite JDB guitar solo) are all great.

All that said, I think SYMM tends to get a lot of unfair criticism. The chorus is huge and the last few minutes of that guitar solo are probably my favourite part of the album. I stick to my argument that its a song about not being able to write a song.

purlieu

  • Gertrude Stein said that's enough.
Yeah, I never got the problem with SYMM. It's about not knowing how to put into words how horrible the Hillsborough disaster was, which is a perfectly reasonable perspective. Musically it's one of the most atmospheric on the album, an almost unsettling vibe at times.

The interesting thing about the b-sides is that they show the slower pace of the album was absolutely intentional - Prologue to History and Montana/Autumn/78 in particular are louder and more energetic than anything on Everything Must Go even, but they were left off the album for a reason. There's definitely an alternate history there where they included the b-sides (Black Holes for the Young with Sophie Ellis Bextor is another favourite), recorded Tsunami, Be Natural and The Everlasting in the more EMG-esque style of the demos on the reissue, used the four minute Dave Bascome mix of Tolerate and kept some of the more atmospheric tracks for b-sides and it would have basically been EMG2. They'd have kept more of a fanbase and wouldn't have made the somewhat reactionary KYE as a result. It wouldn't have been as musically challenging for them, however, and I'm really glad they went the way they went.

Shoulders?-Stomach!

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Tsunami seems to me a good example of how TIMTTMY is actually a worthy album in the sense that the instrumentation is quite creative and yet very poppy, the lyrics are intensely heartfelt (verses anyway) but seem to fit into the structure of a pop song.

I don't think it actually works, but I'd much rather that than the fucking sub-Foo Fighters/REM stuff on Journal For Plague Lovers and the 'we must try to not go through the motions but OH FUCK we can't break out of it' that followed.

I quite like My Little Empire. Quite a desperate bit of lead guitar with Nicky's flat backing vocal.

purlieu

  • Gertrude Stein said that's enough.
the 'we must try to not go through the motions but OH FUCK we can't break out of it' that followed.
But Rewind the Film, Futurology and Resistance is Futile all contain a fair amount of material that is pretty different to what they've done before.

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
The Masses Against The Classes is their best ever single. I just thought I'd tell you that.

markburgle

  • A flavourless mush I call Rootmarm
The Masses Against The Classes is their best ever single. I just thought I'd tell you that.

Not with those verses it isn't. Great old Manics in the chorus, pale-imitation-desperate-attempt-to-recapture-what's-lost-embarassing-old Manics in the verses.

I do think it's odd that Nicky always boasts about getting Tolerate to no.1 just because of it's subject matter, when really that's not such a big deal given how the music is very commercial and produced for radio. Whereas it's genuinely incredible that they managed to top the charts with Masses. When has there ever been a record that sounded that abrasive at no. 1? I always keep having to recheck wikipedia every time I bring it up just to check I'm not misremembering.

Dr Syntax Head

  • Empty alcohol
I love the album but well annoyed that Nobody Loves You got left off the vinyl re-release.

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
Not with those verses it isn't. Great old Manics in the chorus, pale-imitation-desperate-attempt-to-recapture-what's-lost-embarassing-old Manics in the verses.

I like the verses. I think it's a rare case of them taking the piss out of themselves. I remember reading a piece about it in Socialist Worker calling it 'a call to arms against capitalism' or suchlike. It's not anything of the sort and I could be wrong but I think that's the point.

Not with those verses it isn't. Great old Manics in the chorus, pale-imitation-desperate-attempt-to-recapture-what's-lost-embarassing-old Manics in the verses.

I do think it's odd that Nicky always boasts about getting Tolerate to no.1 just because of it's subject matter, when really that's not such a big deal given how the music is very commercial and produced for radio. Whereas it's genuinely incredible that they managed to top the charts with Masses. When has there ever been a record that sounded that abrasive at no. 1? I always keep having to recheck wikipedia every time I bring it up just to check I'm not misremembering.

They were very canny in putting "Masses" out right before the New Year, a time when single sales traditionally plummeted. So it just kind-of snuck in there on the back of fan sales I suspect.

This discogs credit made me chuckle:


I like the verses. I think it's a rare case of them taking the piss out of themselves. I remember reading a piece about it in Socialist Worker calling it 'a call to arms against capitalism' or suchlike. It's not anything of the sort and I could be wrong but I think that's the point.

Always considered it their attempt at 'Complete Control' . A one-off, self contained track about the politics of being in a band. It definitely takes the piss about what they had become and the lines 'or are you lost forevermore?/ messed up and dead on alcohol' always put me in mind of the slightly angry Richey dig in Prologue to History ('my former friend who's now undercover\he's gone but I'm no deserter'). 

Despite it getting to no.1 it's the start of the self sabotage that leads to Know Your Enemy and just another reason why they are often fascinating (and occasionally dull as dishwater). Their reaction to having a number 1 single and large commercial success (especially in Europe) was to follow it up with a song that starts with Chomsky, ends with Camus, is draped in a Cuban flag and sounds somewhere inbetween You Love Us, Twist and Shout and Motown Junk.  Madness on every level, and it goes straight to number 1. It's the realisation of the ambition of Generation Terrorists 8 years late and in the full knowledge that they were turning their back on the sort of money that a palatable follow up to This is My Truth would have brought.

Speaking of which , the Know Your Enemy box set they they teased last year should be announced fairly soon. Really looking forward to that. Absolute mess of an album and all the better for it.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2021, 04:25:29 PM by Glyn »

The self-sabotage particularly evident in this hilarious live version where James plays no guitar in the verses, instead allowing a Blackpool Pleasure Beach organ line to take the rhythm guitar's place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJyJGcI1n9g.

Didn't they make a big statement that Masses Against The Classes would be deleted the day it was released? I seem to remember all my mates buying it because they thought if they didn't, the song wouldn't be obtainable again.

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
When has there ever been a record that sounded that abrasive at no. 1? I always keep having to recheck wikipedia every time I bring it up just to check I'm not misremembering.

Iron Maiden's Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter. Another one timed to come out when nobody but their devoted fans would buy singles.

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
Yeah, Lifeblood, to me, is their last essential album. It's really, really grown on me over the years and the almost ambient sheen works beautifully.

Got to admit I only played it two or three times and wasn't very impressed. But I may dig it out again on your recommendation and try again.

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