Love Their Mess and Adore Their Failures: Manic Street Preachers’ 100 Greatest Songs

Right, holy shit, so am I actually doing this…?

“Repeat after me…”

The Manic Street Preachers are the greatest rock band ever. That’s not an opinion, it’s a conclusion that I’ve reached and am now saying it loudly and not listening to any dissenting voices, which in 2021 counts as a ‘fact’.

Their greatness is… complicated… and not easy to explain in a simple intro to a blog post… These 100 tracks aren’t necessarily the greatest songs ever. Even as a pathetically dedicated Manics stan*, even I would argue that they’ve only ever released one indisputable, stone cold classic record from front to back (see if you can guess which one after you read the list!). They may have supernatural control over melodies and how best to ensure a chorus hits just there, but at the end of the day they’re just a rock band. They have never really challenged the very boundaries of music, never pushed things forward or necessarily introduced anything new sonically. I would argue that only one of their albums is truly challenging and experimental, rather than just being a break from what the band usually produce (yeah, it’s the same album…). I mean, Jesus, they once shamelessly released a song including the lyric “The world is full of refugees/They’re just like you and just like me“. That’s unforgivably bad, isn’t it? They can’t come back from that, artistically.

“You stand there and you think about what you’ve done”

(*I may occasionally use cool, groovy, young person lingo like ‘stan’ so you think I’m a hip young gunslinger. Not, y’know, old enough to be a Manics fan)

I’m not able to explain their magic here, but over the next one hundred (!) entries you’ll hopefully all have a better idea. It’s not as dominated by the 90’s as I was worried it might be, and every album is represented (apart from one. Because their tenth album is worse than Hitler). I’ve been wanting to find the time to do this for ages, partially inspired by the great What is Music podcast covering their entire discography and reminding me of how many big veiny stonkers this band had bulging out of their collective musical swimming trunks. They’re talking about Muse on that podcast now, a band for morons, so you only need to listen to the last season. My major blind spot is I don’t think they’ve done a decent b-side since 2001. Now, I’m sure I’m wrong, so please correct my ignorance in the comments. Tell me how wrong I am. Post your top tens. Your top hundreds. The Manic Street Preachers’ fan community is one of the greatest in the world, and no other band are as connected with their fanbase and feed off their adoration as much as The Manics. So let’s celebrate that by calling me a fat slut in the comments because I didn’t choose Little Baby Nothing.

If you don’t have time for such nonsense, here’s the Spotify playlist and here’s all the songs in order on YouTube.

And, er, you might wanna bookmark this page – motherfucker’s gonna be long. Your next 500 trips to the toilet are sorted.

Continue reading “Love Their Mess and Adore Their Failures: Manic Street Preachers’ 100 Greatest Songs”

My Life in Albums (part 3 07-20/death)

Put my mind at ease, pretty please, I need your hands on me, sweet relief, pretty please…

Yeah, I’m in a good mood, what of it? Wanna fight about it? Bring it on, I bet I’ll have you kissing me before the first punch lands, because how can you stay angry at this face?? My good mood mainly arises from three reasons. Firstly, longtime reader Beryl got in touch to tell me how she enjoyed the last post, and only made the polite suggestion that this series could be improved if it…

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incorporated more hardcore scat pornography?? Jesus fucking Christ, Beryl. Honestly, whenever I’m that close to relaxing that restraining order, you come out with something that sends us back to square one. Maybe I’m at fault here for expecting more from someone I met on the online scatological fetish dating app ‘ScatrBraind‘, but I just always assumed she was interested in the person around the fecal matter, y’know?

Anyway, the second reason is that this will definitely be the final part in this series, allowing me to abandon my blog again to return to my three real loves (masturbating, crying, and masturbating while crying. Mainly the third, if I’m being completely honest).  Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, we are now actually into the years where I made a point of listing the best albums, so this part should be an absolute piece of piss! Look at the header of this blog- I’ve already got my best albums of 07-19 listed! I just need to copy those albums down again for this entry! It’s 8:53 now, and I’ll have all this done and dusted in time for my traditional 9am cry! Let’s do this shit!!

Continue reading “My Life in Albums (part 3 07-20/death)”

My Life in Albums (part 2 97-06)

You want an intro? You got that in part one! Let’s get down to the dirty, sticky and dangerously unhygienic business:

1997

This was an important year for me, this was when shit got real. Yeah, Labour won the election, which I was aware I was supposed to celebrate but not yet conscious enough to know exactly why, just that ‘our team won*. Princess Diana died, inspiring a nationwide reaction that even 13 year old Alex Palmer recognised as being a bit fucking much**. All that was meaningless background noise though, as most importantly 1997 was the year that I became really switched on to new music. Before this point, most of the albums I’ve listed would have been discovered by me later and posthumously lusted after in the kind of nostalgic necrophilia that I would later grow to despise. Yeah, sorry if you’ve already imagined me as an incredibly cool seven year old bopping his head to Soon by My Bloody Valentine. From this point on, these important albums in my life and personal development were pretty much all discovered as contemporaries. Seriously though, ‘It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah’ was the first CD that I ever owned. Yeah. I’m that cool/weird.

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“Dad, this is why you’re only allowed to see me one weekend every other month…”

Continue reading “My Life in Albums (part 2 97-06)”

My Life in Albums (part 1 83-96)

Yeah, sorry, no more Bumble Rumble. Possibly… ever…? Listen, I’ve pretty much decided that I hate Zero Hour dating- I happen to still believe that I’m relatively attractive, so to have an app on my phone that frequently reminds me that I’m actually not is not good at all for my already inflated yet easily pricked sense of self-esteem. For now, my official stance is that I know that I’m a highly fuckable piece of hunky man meat who could grind genitals with pretty much any woman he wants, but I just choose not to, OK?? The official stance is that I’ve decided to concentrate on the more important things in my life, such as this blog- which has never been more popular- and my actual job- which I’m technically supposed to be doing now*. Remember this blog? It used to be about music, didn’t it? I mean… kinda… Let’s do that again. Basically, it’s time for:

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Just wanted a photo with my eyes in it. Have they always been that colour? More after the jump!!

Continue reading “My Life in Albums (part 1 83-96)”

From ‘From Her to Eternity’ to…?Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ Albums Officially Ranked

OK, first off we all have to admit how ridiculous it is to rank The Bad Seeds’ albums, chiefly because of the fact that the form demands that certain albums need to be ranked toward the bottom of the list and be therefore deemed the band’s ‘worst’ albums or in some way ‘substandard’. Albums you or other weirdos like you might deem their favourites may well prop up the list and you may receive a jolting shock to your cultural sacks that you likely won’t recover from. The reason this list is likely to offend more than similar ones is because over the course of their nearly 30 years career The Bad Seeds have never released a bad album. I’d argue that they’ve never released even a subpar one. No, that one you’re thinking of? Get over yourself, that has brilliant moments and is number thirteen. The worst/least brilliant albums by The Bad Seeds would still be career highlights of lesser contemporaries like Pearl Jam or The Cure or The Beastie Boys. Just see this as 16 Bad Seeds albums ranked in order of their amazingness. If number 16 is your personal favourite, then your personal favourite is still an amazing album. Just be aware that ‘your personal favourite’ is subjective, while this list is official and objective. So it’s the 16th best. As long as you’re cool with that.

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Perhaps my own personal perspective has to come into this. I first encountered Wavey Cavey and his Stinky Eggs as a precocious and hormonally operated  thirteen year old with 1997’s The Boatman’s Call. This has probably meant that my entire idea of Nicholas and his Naughty Nuts has been through the frame of an achingly beautiful smack addict singing delicate odes to PJ Harvey (and probably, let’s face it, smack). If you’re disgustingly old enough to first come across The Bad Seeds when they first set sail in the 1980s- or even through Cave’s previous band The Birthday Party– then…

Well, then first of all you really are too old and decrepit to possess any worthwhile opinions. Your should be ashamed of your advancing years and retreat into functional alcoholism. I’m not explicitly saying that you should kill yourself, I’m just making sure that you’re aware that your death will have no real impact on the wider world and on a functional level you may as well kill yourself. OK? Good. Glad that we all understand.

Also, approaching  The Bad Seeds from an ‘OG’ perspective may lead you to rate his earlier none more goth albums- the ones that are occasionally punctuated with distorted screams of “THE ORGAN GRINDER’S MONKEY FUCK’S THE VIRGIN MARY BLOODY CUNT WITH A RUSTY CRUCIFIX!”, and the like- a lot higher than I have. That’s cool. We’re all friends. But, scientifically, I’m correct and you’re wrong. And horrendously old. Seriously, what’s that smell? Oh. It’s you. That’s just what old people smell like. Ew.

Before we start, a few rules:

Continue reading “From ‘From Her to Eternity’ to…?Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ Albums Officially Ranked”

The Best Albums of the Tennies (kind of…) Part Two

Y’know what? This really didn’t need to be a two parter. Sure, Part One spilled over 4’000 words, but’s that’s just because Arctic Monkey’s shameful behavior presented me with the chance to go off on a wrestling tangent, and that’s a guaranteed extra twenty five hundred words right there. I reckon I’ll bang through the rest of these in around 2’000 words, as I’m almost certain The Sport of Kings is unlikely to make an appearance. 6’000 words is a not at all ridiculous length for an entry. My ‘50 Song Memoir‘ entry was, if memory serves, 7,296,586 words, and that’s one of my most popular posts of all time. You. Whores. Love. Length.

Smash

But, twice the content, yeah? Twice the clicks, twice the sweet, sweet advertising dollar. I mean… technically, yeah… Double zero is still zero, maths fans. Could be worse, I could be giving each entry it’s own individual page and forcing you to click ‘next’ each time, like those fucking awful lists you see on the internet, like… like… well, like this dumb blog that nobody reads every year end, I suppose. We’ve got some motherfucking stonkers coming up, mind, so ready your tiny minds to be blown like you were the window cleaner’s penis and this list was your mum (oooooooooooooooh!!). This pointless intro only exists because I hate the entries being scissored by a page break. Besides, I couldn’t let you know what no.5 is before I’ve got your delicious clicks. Clickety-click!

Continue reading “The Best Albums of the Tennies (kind of…) Part Two”

The Best Albums of the Tennies (kind of…) Part One

Has this even been a decade? Like, other decades were definitely decades, weren’t they? The 70s were definitely a decade, I’ve seen pictures. It was all flared jeans and Ashton Kutchers. I remember the 80s, it was all primary colours and He Man toys. Except I’m 29 years old, which now unfortunately means I was born in 1990, so I don’t actually remember the 80s. Shame.

Yeah, I know, the Megadrive version was better…

The NINETIES though! Remember the NINETIES?! That was an unarguable ‘decade’! There was a undeniable vibe to the 90s. The 90s was the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air doing the Macarena after scoring the winning penalty against Ginger Spice in the Euro 96 quarter finals. Remember that? It definitely happened and was definitely 90s!!

I turned 16 (or possibly 10) three days before the year 2000, and since then life doesn’t really deal in decades or conveniently distinct periods of time anymore. Every decade, every year, every day is now a seemingly unending trudge through hideous adulthood. Life and popular culture just trundles off in a different direction and your major marking points become all the more onanistic and self-centred. I started getting fucking old. And when you’re fucking old you’re beaten down by capitalism’s endless rat race that you don’t even fucking care what year it is.

Continue reading “The Best Albums of the Tennies (kind of…) Part One”

55 Manic Street Preachers: Resistance is Futile (and the Manics albums ranked)

You might not believe this- considering it sounds so much like a slogan that would have been scrawled over the shirt of an awkward looking Sean Moore in 1991*- but the Manic Street Preachers haven’t actually released an album (or even song) called ‘resistance is futile’ before!

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thankfully, it says ‘broken algorithms’ on the inner sleeve

(*some classic Manic Street Preachers t-shirt slogans from the early 90s:

  • Bon Apetit Benito!
  • Pol Pot Luck!
  • Atrophy is Ecstacy!
  • She Had a Honky-Tonk Badonkadonk!
  • Burn Your Kindling!
  • You’re the Spitting Image of Your Father When You Make That Face!
  • (poo emoji)!
  • Mao That’s What Zedong Music!
  • Rick and Morty Reference That I Honestly Believe Makes Me Smarter Than You! Seriously, What The Fuck Is Up With That Shit?! It Makes Me Want To Hate the Show Because Its Fans Are Such Cunts!
  • USSR! Fuck Yeah!

OK, we’re done here…)

‘Resistance is Futile’ is absolutely a treading water, ticking boxes, Manic Street Preachers album. And that’s absolutely fine, not just because the absolute riproaring success of ‘Futurology‘ means the band are allowed to put their feet up for an album or two (you Millennials don’t appreciate how much doing something decent really takes it out of you at a certain age), but also because the lack of talking points means it’s given me a chance to finally rate all the Manics albums!!

Continue reading “55 Manic Street Preachers: Resistance is Futile (and the Manics albums ranked)”

Prince: The Ejaculate Collection- My Albums Ranked

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I’m not going to bore you with dog piss stories about how Prince was so important to me and he made an impression on my life  and how this is all actually a tragedy for me

No, it goes without saying that Prince should be recognised as at least as important a musical figure as dreary tossers like Bob Dylan or Paul McCartney. He was one of music’s all time great visionaries, yet he never neglected the importance of a great cod-piece. Prince’s run of albums from 1980’s Dirty Mind through to maybe 88’s Lovesexy is a burst of musical creativity and productiveness that has only been matched by the Beatles in the late 60s. Only the Beatles never wrote a lyric as good as “Look here, Marsha, I’m not saying this just 2 be nasty/I sincerely wanna f**k the taste out of your mouth”

So difficult not to refer to it as a ‘purple patch’…

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So instead I’m going to attempt something near impossible: ranking all the Prince albums I own, which probably amounts to about 2.8% of his recorded. Prince has an irritating and presumably mischievously intentional habit of putting at least one stone cold classic on even his shittest albums, so just dive in people!!

Right, so I count 30..

Continue reading “Prince: The Ejaculate Collection- My Albums Ranked”