#12 Manic Street Preachers: Know Your Enemy (Deluxe Edition)

Seriously? You freakzillas want more content from me about this album??

I gave all you cretins, like, a million words back when this astonishing reconceptualisation of the divisive 2001 release by Our Lord Jesus’s Favourite Band back when it was released in September! “But Alex!” I hear your dribbling mouths bray, “This isn’t even a proper anniversary! 2021 would have been the *actual* twentieth anniversary, so wouldn’t it make more sense to put it on last year’s list??”. To which I lower my voice to an angry whisper, pull your collar roughly forward so our foreheads clash, and say, through gritted teeth, You think I don’t know that?? This is a band that fucks everything up! And that’s part of the reason we love them!! Now sit down and enjoy your Epicentre!!

My views on the album haven’t really changed. I still believe that it’s an astonishingly worthwhile artistic achievement, I believe that it successfully imagines a completely new project from reinterpretations of past work, and I could not recommend it more highly to Manics fans or anyone with knowledge of the original record and is curious to hear how it could be reconfigured. Anyone else? I mean, it’s a brilliant record, but deep down I don’t actually care as I don’t have any confidence in your tastes nor your critical skills.

Is that written on a flower?? Alex, that whole picture is a fucking shitshow

I still believe that the sequencing (specifically on the first album ‘Door to the River’) is sometimes questionable, I think the Sean Penn version of So Why So Sad is a far inferior version (though I understand how difficult it would be to put the bonkers original onto any conceptually coherent album), and the ‘defuzzification’ of songs like My Guernica loses some of songs’ adorable gonzo insanity.

Would I consider this reimagining to be the superior version of the album overall? I’m… still not sure. It’s tighter, it makes more sense as a (double) album, and the song quality is definitely improved (they got rid of Royal Correspondent, guys, we’re gonna be OK). But… damn you, nostalgia! I’m attached to the original album’s insanity, it’s cackhandedness, and its complete lack of direction. I can’t help but feel that improving ‘KYE’s coherence and production quality, kinds lose what makes ‘KYE’ special.

Anyway, enough of that, time for the big question: I might have to do my Manics album rankings again in 2023, it’s been around five years since my last (unfocused) effort and I now have to contend with

one extra new album. But do I count the original ‘KYE’ and the ‘Solidarity/Door to the River’ releases separately?? Do I do them as three releases?? Man, these are big issues that I have to deal with, no one knows what it’s like to be me

Fuck, wish me luck:

2021 #31

2020 #9

2019 #83 

2018 #55 

2014 #1 

2013 #20 

2010 #15 

2009 #2 

2007 #3

2015-17 is known as ‘The Dark Times’

Metacritic: 57

For the original. Their lowest rating ever. And that’s quite a contested title!

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