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?
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?
Hey! A special bonus post! This year’s Necessary Evil is finished, there’s still the Legit Bosses/best songs to do, but, dude, that is effort, seriously. It was my birthday yesterday (remember, Older Than ArloYounger That Caroline/OLAYTC), so thanks for all the happy birthday wished that you didn’t give me – you ungrateful bunch of leeches – and all the lovely presents you didn’t send. No, Paula, that Tupperware tub full of your own excrement that you throw through my window doesn’t count as a present. You’ve done that every Tuesday since I slagged off Mercury Rev’s album back in 2015. I have plans tomorrow, New Years Eve, and then it’s just next fucking year and that’s a whole thing in itself. What I’m saying is, there happens to be a gap in my schedule today, so I’m going to scientifically analyse Jon Hopkins’ latest album by getting high as balls.
‘Music for Psychedelic Therapy’ is exactly what it sounds like. Inspired by Hopkins’s visit to some Ecuadorian caves to do some standard white boy in Ecuadorian cave shit, as Hopkins has obviously never read, seen or heard of Alex Garland’s The Beach or has such stunning lack of self awareness that he believes acting like he’s a late 90s gap year student isn’t something to be ashamed of. The album that came out of these hallucinogenic experiences is… really dull. Listless ambient nonsense. But I was sober when I listened to it! It’s like asking for my opinions on dog food when I’m not a dog, or to judge a Magic Eye contest when I’m not wearing my glasses, or asking me to set rules on abortion when I’m a man. Fucking ridiculous! Shameful, really. Hopkins made sure the album was 64 minutes, the average length of a ketamine high. Where would I get ketamine, you ask??
When I first heard ‘Devotion’ I was blown away by it. I had never previously heard of her, and only bonked into her album during one of my financially and mentally draining BandCamp trawls. She didn’t exist. I had read no reviews or even mentions of her in the world of online music journalism. Yet here she was. And she was perfect. I got very excited. I had discovered her and would now be the spark that lit the wider press adoration that fired her to the very top. She would be my artist.
‘Devotion’ is a pretty spectacular album, and I was looking forward our trip to the top together. I pictured her mentioning my name in her acceptance speech after winning her first Brit/VMA/Emmy/Oscar/Mercury/Nobel prize in 2025, as someone who had ‘always been there’ for her. She’d even invite me to sing backing vocals on Dismal Affordable Beams, track seven off her 2023 album ‘Pigs! Pigs! Fucking PIGS, Motherfucker!‘, as being a longtime devotee of my art* naturally meant she was well-aware of my exceptional singing ability. I mean, the track isn’t very well received (like, at all), but it means that I can now boast of appearing on a platinum record. And, yes, some deeper feelings are quite obviously always going to blossom between two people who work so closely and are so deeply in awe of each others art*. Laura would even proposition me one night, but I’d say I could never take advantage of a woman who’d been drinking gin and snorting ketamine for the last six hours straight, and I wouldn’t want to jeopardise what had by that point grown into one of the most artistically and financially successful partnerships in all of music. This honesty, and my sheer integrity, would cause Ms Jane to burst into tears, and she’d apologise for even putting me in that position as she falls into my embrace. I pat the back of her head, and say that I still love her, and that I would help her beat the debilitating drug addiction that I’ve just decided she has. I mean… I’d probably say no… depends how lonely I was feeling…