Aaaaargh! Eeeesh! Oooof! Concerned faces! Furrowed brows! Isn’t the internet just awful?! Social media! SOCIAL FUCKING MEDIA! Facebook and Myspace and shit!! They’ve ruined the world! They’ve destroyed a whole generation!! That teenager who you follow on Instagram who keeps posting pictures of her pert young tiddies straining against a tight vest provided by Shein’s new line? Don’t you just hate her?? Her narcissism is destroying society! Havea look at the next photo. Eugh! I’ve never seen such a narcissistic bitch! Scroll down. My God! Look at those tight narcissistic abs and those horrendously self-absorbed nipples visible through that egotistical Pretty Little Things top! Let’s see how bad the next photo is…
Jesus, everyone, Jordana was twenty one years old when she released this incredible record back in December 2020 (Making it. Eligible. For this year’s. List. So sick of having to explain how this works), isn’t that just terrifying?
For her, I mean. This isn’t one of those “Whaaaaa! They’re so young and I’ve comparatively failed in life!” takes. Partially because – Jesus fucking Christ – those mournings are so boring. We’ve all failed in life, that’s what connects us so beautifully as people, and even the ones we assume haven’t still think they have, let’s not create divisions by imagining any one of us is making a better go of this shitshow we call existence. Mostly because, seriously, you eventually get to an age where fucking everyone is younger than you (except Caroline Shaw, of course), you stop being such a big baby about the whole thing (“Malala Yousafzai was only fifteen years old when she was shot in the face by Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan gunmen?! Lucky!! What had I done by that age??”) and instead switch to being in constant mortal dread of your own imminent demise. It’s honestly a cool transition.
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.
(*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.
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…
…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!!
So Bumble is installed, time to open my account, type in my details and…
Aw man! So we’re straight in there, are we? No ‘How you doing?’, no ‘Nice to meet you’, no ‘Tell us about the two months you spent in Bologna studying clownlogy’. No, we’re straight into the meat market. Give us your ugly mug so that people can harshly judge your entire being based on the milliseconds your fat face spends on their smartphone while they’re on the toilet taking a particularly rough dump, before they swipe you left into oblivion. Well, dang, if people are so shallow that my photo is really going to be of such uppermost importance, I guess I’ll have to make sure I take a good one.
Just to let you know, dear reader, at times in this article it may sound like I’m derogating the general situation or decrying a loss of civility in wider society or lame things like that, but I am actually complaining about you personally, as your own behaviour is at the centre of what I’m talking about and it is completely within your power to address it. And, I’m sorry, but if you consider yourself left wing then you really are chiefly what I’m thinking of. We cool? We cool??
If you are left wing, you are (generally, generally, generally!!) concerned with supporting the community rather than the individual but also want the state to make it as easy as possible for a human being to express themselves freely and with a truly equal framework of opportunity. That’s cool and- you know what?- I probably agree with you. If you are right wing you are (generally! Gen-er-motherfuckin’-ly!!!) concerned more with allowing the more successful people as little impediments to their achievements as possible, you think the best state is one that interferes as little as possible, that things like high taxes and overzealous bureaucracy only discourages human potential. You (GENERALLY!!!!) thank that to support the less successful financially is actually just encouraging people to ‘do nothing’ and removes the impetus for them to truly excel. That’s cool. I don’t agree, but we both honestly believe that our positions on society are what’s best for either the good of the community/country/world or just, y’know, yourself and your own family. Maybe the latter’s more important to you. Maybe the former’s more important to me only because it will increase the good of the latter. Maybe we both think that the former plays a part in improving the latter but without the latter being dealt with the former has no chance but without the former being stabilised we don’t even have a latter but then what is the former if not just a larger collection of latters and the latter and the former both need to somehow work in synergy? Yes, that’s probably the one statement we can all agree with.
See, Thom? Do you see? Do you see what you can achieve when you stop mucking about?
I didn’t like the last Radiohead album. I thought it was too often lazily and ponderously similar to the rather lazy and ponderous first half of ‘King of Limbs’, their previous album. Oh, that reminds me, I didn’t really like ‘King of Limbs’ either, but I thought that the second half of the record was just about enough to salvage the record. Then there have been his solo records. 2013’s ‘Atoms for Peace’ project was described in some quarters as ‘musical farting about that will have you stroking the nearest beard in appreciation‘, and then there was 2014’s ‘Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes‘- which I honestly completely forgot about until I just Googled his discography because I was certain he’d been responsible for more bullshit recently- which paled ‘next to even his debut solo LP and last year’s patchy Atoms of Peace (sic) release’. What I’m saying, dear reader, is that Thom ‘Fuck Phonetics’ Yorke hasn’t been involved in a consistently great album since 2007’s ‘In Rainbows‘. You’re allowed to have your own opinion, of course, just remember that it’s just an opinion. What I’ve just said is a fact.
I don’t mean to say ‘don’t answer that’ as a joke, like the answer would somehow be difficult to hear, it was an entirely serious suggestion. An order, really. It would really slow this entry down to a standstill were I to pause now to open it up for reader’s suggestions. It’s pretty much the definition of a rhetorical question, see? I’m not actually expecting you to answer, merely just asking it for dramatic effect. Do you see? Good.
Do we even have private lives anymore? In the crusty old days of the early 21st century, we were given the choice of whether we wanted to share all of our personal details and cherished moments. It used to be that it was only if you chose to download Facebook or Myspace or Friendster or Habbo or Flickr or Ribblegrink or ConsciousCoupling or SideGrindr that you consented to sharing your details online. Sure, many people would object to having to livestream ‘OMG! Toughest Poo EVER!!’, but the fact is it was my choice and I completely understood what I was signing up for.
Now though, the very act if existing in 2018 is only made possible by the existence and authority of so many digital companies- some social networks, some good old fashioned squillion dollar multinationals- that we can’t do anything without passing over at least a little bit of personal information about ourselves. My alarm clock today only agreed to shut itself off after I told it what my make of television was, my toothbrush refused to uncoil its stubble until I spent four minutes telling it what credit card companies I’d heard of, I wasn’t allowed to boil my kettle until I confessed what income bracket I was in, my left shoe wouldn’t tie until I linked the right one to at least four social media accounts, and my door would only open if I connected to it on LinkedIn. And this has all in the last hour since I got out of bed at 2:30! I managed to avoid signing up to Facebook until 2015, but after seeing so many ‘sign in with Facebook’ buttons on every site I tried to access I just got lazy and decided to let Facebook tell every site imaginable my details instead of me spending a whole 24 seconds entering them myself.
We have to stop talking about ‘The Internet’ like it’s a distinct and separate thing, a place somehow separate to everything else. We need to stop talking about ‘The Internet’ in the same way we talk about that time I wet my pants ‘at the zoo’ or that time I wet my pants ‘at Kew Gardens’ or that time I wet my pants ‘at the UN National Assembly’. Also, we need to stop talking about the times I wet my pants, can we not talk about your day for a change??
‘The Internet’ is no longer this curious and hidden alternative to reality used only by weirdos to secretly find what other depraved people near them also believe that Star Wars was never really that fucking good in the first place*. ‘The Internet’ is now just ‘Everything’. It has no unique facets or distinctive characteristics, it’s just ‘The World’.