Broken Up or Still Around? Manic Street Preachers’ ‘Know Your Enemy’ 2022 Remaster Reviewed

Here is what I know about the state of the world:

1. We are rich.

2. There are no wars or anything (real wars, that is).

3. Ummm. Very little continental drift going on (that’s probably normal).

4. Somewhere, the president’s daughter is “like, totally wasted” right now.

There. One minor problem. Otherwise, things are swell. I haven’t really researched this much, but if something major was going wrong, I’m sure someone would have told me. So what are these Manic Street Preachers bitching about?

Pitchfork review posted March 19th 2001, roughly six months before Americans became aware of bad things happening in the world apart from Jenna Bush being arrested for underage drinking

I discussed the Manics’ 2001 commercial hari kari ‘Know Your Enemy’ at length in my 50’000 word list of their 100 greatest songs published last year. I mentioned that it all started when an aging British revolutionary folk icon turned his nose up at the band’s private Portaloo at a Scottish festival. I mentioned how Manics bassist/lyricist Nicky Wire would later confirm that he wouldn’t have that same folk icon’s “Dick pissing in my toilet for all the money in the fucking world”. I mentioned how that shot of verbosity occurred during a T in the Park performance that acted as an reinvigorating reminder of the band’s routes as angrily political agitprops. I mentioned how people had mostly accepted they would never be that exciting again after the morose and Phil Collins infused ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours‘ had sold roughly seventy two squillion copies, making the band Britain’s biggest rock band after Oasis had politely taken their dog out of the fight with ‘Be Here Now‘. I discussed at length their line in the sand statement single The Masses Against the Classes*, the scuzz punk call to arms that became the first new UK number one of the 21st century. I noted how this moment – along with them playing the song live to 57’000 people at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium at new years eve 1999 – represented the absolute peak of their commercial success. For the benefit of the TL:DR generation, I then explained the release of their sixth album a little over a year later in meme form:

And despite everything I’ll discuss in this review, I still absolutely stand by that visual point. It’s simply inconceivable that the band ever believed that ‘Know Your Enemy’ would be a commercial success, and it’s likely that they correctly assumed that it would cut ties with the mainstream to such an extent that they would never again experience anything close to the success that they enjoyed in the late 90s. Their previous album, 1998’s ‘This is My Truth…’ sold five million copies worldwide (!), while ‘KYE’ sold 500’000. Nicky Wire would later even concede in Mojo Magazine that much of those sales were to dissatisfied customers, and also remark on how it marked the band’s commercial downturn:  “To this day, you see ‘Know Your Enemy’ at service stations for £2.99, because they bought so many thinking it was by one of those commercial bands! In retrospect, it sold half a million copies. Imagine what we’d give for that now.”

So, yes: commercially, it was ritual suicide. But was it any good?

Continue reading “Broken Up or Still Around? Manic Street Preachers’ ‘Know Your Enemy’ 2022 Remaster Reviewed”

You All Knew This Was Coming [UPDATED]

This blog has never been the place for timely, contemporary and up to the minute fresh takes. In normal circumstances, if something notable happens during the year I simply put it aside in that special part of my brain that I hope to access around December, then at the end of the year I rant about it in a blog post about my 25th best album of the year, or whatever, when every other person in the world has long stopped caring about it. Or, most likely, I’ll simply forget all about it and instead go off on a tangent about rape fantasies or utter fucking nonsense. It was all we wanted. All we needed. We were happy.

Well, COVID-19 got me doing all sorts of crazy shit that I’ve never done before- last Tuesday I ate an unsalted pistachio*- so I guess I may as well add to the insanity by commenting on something that only just happened this last week. Partly this is because a particularly obnoxious crow outside my window has woken me up at two thirty in the morning, like I’m a 15th century wheelwright working in the tower of his master’s monastery or some shit, but partly because Lana Del Rey’s 21st May Instagram post really got under my skin. Yeah, mostly the former. Sniff, sniff, what’s that smell? Oh yeah! Precious motherfucking content!!

Continue reading “You All Knew This Was Coming [UPDATED]”

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)”

Rumble in the Bumble pt.6

part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5

Part six! This site’s previous longest series* was the (intermittently ongoing) ‘Greatest Songs Ever‘ collection, which has so far taken eighteen months to dribble to five entries, yet this trawl through my misery caused a dating app that I have since realisedreally don’t want to be on is already on its sixth entry in less than ten days! Maybe I don’t actually like writing about music, and actually prefer instead cataloging my sad and emotionally draining attempts to date as a sober person. Sorry, as a non drinker of alcoholic drinks, I realise that ‘sober’ suggests a higher bar of not relying on recreational supplements that I unfortunately cannot meet.

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(*Unless, of course, you count my albums of the year lists as an ongoing series, in which case there have been around 450 posts since 20072007!! My girlfriend wasn’t even born when I started this shit! She’s probably not even heard of Les Savy Fav!!)

Dating if you drink is easy. You just go to a place where people drink, you’re entertaining enough drunk and she’s drunk enough to not know any better, you have sex that neither of you 100% remembers in the morning, then you stay together for ages because the buses back to Chorley are really unreliable and it seems like the option of least resistance just to stay together. There was no widely used social media back then, so basically as far as both of you were aware this really was as good as it could get- in the late 90s and early 00s your average young adult knew of the existence of maybe twenty four people, and one of those was Toby Anstis. And, come on, Toby Anstis? Never happening.

Hmmmm… Maybe I’m not thinking of ‘people who drink’, but rather ‘people with debilitating problems with drinking’…? And maybe all you were ever likely to be matched up with were people with similarly ruinous issues…?

But it was easy, is all I’m saying!!

Anyway, let’s take a look at the latest bout of options. Most of them will be British, so some sort of ruinous drinking problem is pretty much a given.

Continue reading “Rumble in the Bumble pt.6”

42 Daughters: You Won’t Get What You Want

One of the greatest/worst aspects of life in 2019 is how we all have the power to fine tune and curate exactly what world we live in, edit and personalise what news we hear and what bent ideology it pours from. When I was a bairn, the whole country basically had the same experience, all the time. We all heard Love Is All Around until we all wanted to ruthlessly and repeatedly embed a screwdriver deep into our own eardrums until the flowing blood hopefully drowned out Marti Pellow’s smirk (not me though, Love is All Around is a fuckin’ choon). We all watched Coronation Street last night, so could debate the meaning of Mavis Whooptuck performing a blood sacrifice in order to bring Harold Hupptickle back from the dead (my memories of Coronation Street are a bit cloudy, I’ll admit). Most importantly, we all got the same news. Sure, many people would still buy utter horseshit like the Sun or the Daily Mail- or The Guardian if they were a little more middle class and, let’s face it, a bit twatty- but we kind of all agreed that if it made it to BBC News, then it was likely correct. Likely due to laws restricting the bias of TV news in this country and the very charter of the BBC forbidding any bias or political inclinations in the news reporting. It’s, of course, not perfect*, it’s not always 100% observed, but it’s at least enshrined into law and aimed for, meaning that everyone always tuned into the TV news at the end of the day expecting them to brush the propaganda from the day’s events and tell us what really happened.

“Julie, for fuck’s sake, can you put the brandy down for five minutes??”

(*there were shocking scenes earlier this year when a BBC news reporter had the temerity to suggest that, growing up with an Indian mother and Mauritian father, racism was actually really gross and that Trump’s racist comments actually sounded very familiar. That’s how seriously we take impartiality- a woman of Asian descent isn’t allowed to call out the racist president for saying racist things and say that racism was bad. Apparently, a lot of viewers were still undecided on racism and didn’t want the crazy hippy idea that it was somehow a negative thing shoved down their throat. A white BBC news guy said similar things, but nobody complained about that, because… y’know…).

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Necessary Evil 2019 (62-57)

62 Miley Cyrus: She is Coming

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As you were no doubt taught in economics class, Joseph Schumpeter theorised that there were three distinct types of Miley Cyrus

  1. The ‘aw shucks, there do be a gorse darn boll weevil of pity in ma starched corn hat of love’ (or whatever) dull as dog’s pish Miley of 2017’s ‘Younger Now’, where Miley largely utilities bland country rock but always with the main aim of burrowing herself into the blandest playlists of the most anemic middle aged, middle class radio stations. Or whatever the 2019 version of radio is. Creepypasta subreddits, I think. This is the worst version of Miley Cyrus, artistically near worthless and so obviously desperate for commercial success. It was this version of Miley that Sebastian Piñera has attempted to introduce wholesale to Chile recently, and you can see how well that’s gone.
  2. The occasionally very rewarding, occasionally teeth grindingly embarrassing ‘Yeah bitches! Check out the rims on my pelican fly! Diddy-de check yourself before you diddy-de fleek yourself! Mofo better represent ma’ sweet ass flumes!’ Miley, where she plays with ‘urban’* tropes that’s she’s not even close to feeling like she’s earned, trying so hard to try and ensure her Disney Channel past doesn’t interfere with her quest for credibility and LOOK HOW BIG THIS MOTHERFUCKING DOOBIE IS, BRO!! BRAP BRAP BRAP! Neoplatonist philosophers refer to this as ‘Michael Govian Miley‘.
  3. When she’s not being closely supervised, we’re very occasionally treated to ‘Top of the gurning to yer! Gerbils tunnelled into my desolate Norway! Ribbitribbitribbitribbitribbitribbitribbitribbitribbitribbitribbitribbit goes the sparkly cow!’ Miley, where she’s absolutely no idea what she’s doing and releases quasi-surreal nonsense, like Frank Zappa made for preteens. Or, perhaps for idiots. Frequently both. Dullards will argue that this is the worst Miley, which, I mean, yeah, technically, I suppose, but it’s also by far and away the best, for obvious reasons. Sociologists are suggesting this Miley will soon be so rare as to be close to extinction, as it’s unlikely her label will allow her to release another ‘…Dead Petz‘ for a long, long time.

Continue reading “Necessary Evil 2019 (62-57)”

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.

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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”

48 Wednesday: Yep, Definitely

Off all the artists on this list, North Carolina’s Wednesday is the one I know least about. You guys, I’m not even sure she’s on Twitter! Does she even exist? Her BandCamp page has a paper thin bio that consists wholly of “@wednesday_gurl ♪┏ ( ・o・) ┛♪┗ (・o・ ) ┓♪┏(・o・)┛♪”

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“But Alex”, I hear you cry between crunches of the Tangy Cheese Doritos you’re stuffing into your fat ugly face, “@wednesday_gurl? Her bio has her Twitter handle in it! You are so dumb!”. To which I angrily wedgie you by pulling up the underwear you’re somehow still in at 3pm on a Thursday afternoon and scream “There is no @wednesday_gurl handle on Twitter! There’s somebody who calls themselves ~wednesday gurl~ but her actual handle is @Nos_Qween, has six followers, hasn’t Tweeted since 2011*, and it’s very probable that she was a girl who just really liked Wednesdays.”

Continue reading “48 Wednesday: Yep, Definitely”

78 Lil Yachty: Nuthin’ 2 Prove

 

Longtime readers of this blog (hi, Mum!*) will know I have a bit of an obsession with Lil Yachty. I honestly think he’s a fascinating figure who has the sufficient lack of self-awareness and disregard for the supposed former statesman and accepted tropes of his genre that he could potentially create something very special. His sound is obnoxious, flagrantly disrespectful and nonchalantly artless. But then, I’m a depressingly old white idiot: the sound of 2018 should sound borderline offensive to me! Lil Yachty is 21 years old, he’s already released one stone cold classic song (fight me) and a patchy and imperfect debut album that nonetheless showed flashes of the buoyant/obnoxious/genius/overjoyed style that is all his own and that could see him take over the world before too long, to the fabulous irritation of old farts everywhere. Whether you like it or not, this was evolution and it was frickin’ exciting!

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(*My Mum has far too much self-respect to read my blog. Only people with a base level of pitiful self-respect would ever waste time reading this shit. Yeah, I’m talking about you. Aunty Cheryl, however, loves it! She is, however, a shameless crack cocaine addict and, if I’m being completely honest, has been dead for 12 years next April)

Continue reading “78 Lil Yachty: Nuthin’ 2 Prove”