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”

38 american poetry club:a little light of our own

“you don’t have to be happy all the time

it is something that you practice

it’s a mountain that you climb”

Seriously, since when did we all decide that we need to be fucking happy all the time? Recently, happiness hasn’t been something you work towards, it hasn’t been treated as a welcome result of actually doing worthwhile stuff, it’s no longer something that you practice or a mountain that you climb. Now, you have to be happy as a default state of mind, you owe it to yourself to just be fucking delighted twenty four hours a day. The very concept of happiness has changed. Happiness used to be a result of your general situation, with happy friends and a happy family in a happy community. You were happy because the general situation was exceptionally acceptable. Now, you’re encouraged to simply ignore and avoid all bad feelings, to stick your fingers in your ears and ignore however your friends, family and community might feel. Just make sure that you’re happy. Now we’re encouraged to pursue and gorge on happiness for happiness’s own sake. Be happy! Be happyBe happy!

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Hooray.

 

Hey, and guess what, while I’m writing this exit polls for the UK election have just been released:

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In 2019, I’m supposed to reject all negative thoughts and ensure that I still feel happy, rather than properly react to it. There isn’t a better time to write a blog post about how all this is absolute bullshit.

Continue reading “38 american poetry club:a little light of our own”

48 Drowse: Light Mirror

Drowse are a pretty special band. I’m not sure any other artist working today has the same ability to produce such accurate sonic reflections of what the mind feels like when it’s being battered and shook by the illogical and harsh whims of depression. I mean, yeah, sure, you had Swagger Jagger by Cher Lloyd, but that was eight years ago now, and after listening to it nonstop for the past 100 months* I feel like I could really do with another option for when I want to close my eyes and wallow in the distressing cacophony of my own head being echoed back to me. Seriously, I can’t tell when this album stops playing, the noises I hear keep going on!!

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(…)

(*it was released in July 2011, so it actually has been exactly 100 months. I hate that! The very rare occasion that I do a bit of fucking research and it looks like I’ve just picked a randomly high number! Maybe I should have gone for days. 3’054 days. Yeah, that sounds better. Ah well, too late to change it now)

Continue reading “48 Drowse: Light Mirror”

Money in the Ranked part 2 (10-6)

Fuck… I’m not going to finish this before tonight, am I…? Yeah, it’s gonna have to be a three parter. Sorry… 22-11 is here

10: 2018 Women’s MITB

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I was all set to start this entry off by explaining the massive caveat in the room. I was planning to sit you all down, make you all a nice soothing drink, lightly tickle you all round the back of the ear and in a cool, calming voice explain that no, this almost definitely isn’t really the tenth best MITB ladder match of all time. As I sensually stroked your inner thighs to calm your righteous sense of injustice I would explain how aware I was of rating the first two female MITB matches as scientifically the weakest two in the stipulation’s history, and how I must have been subconsciously desperate to rank their third go around highly in order to address this imbalance. I’d kiss your cheek as I explained how dreaded context meant it was important to slightly overrate a match that would probably be deemed little better than par for the course were it contested by people each holding a presumed pair of testicles and a thick, veiny and lipsmackingly tempting schlong swinging between their legs*. As your boorish fury at men being discriminated against once again built up, I would try and save matters by explaining that the ridiculously high placing was more in appreciation of how a perfectly serviceable ladder match was managed to be put together by wrestlers with next to no experience in the stipulation, at only the third try. As you angrily and loudly threw furniture around the room and fired off multiple Reddit posts asking whether it was even legal to talk about men any more, I would tearfully explain how I didn’t want all three female MITB matches to float around the bottom of this list, and by far the best of these three was ranked so high as mainly a symbolic recognition of great strides made. However, it’d be too late. By that point, I’d have already been officially and forever deemed a shameless ‘White Knight‘, and political correctness will have decisively gone mad.

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(*apart from [WRESTLER], ammi right, lads?! I’ll let you make your own joke their, as I am unarguably better than that, whereas you are patently not)

Continue reading “Money in the Ranked part 2 (10-6)”

33 tUnE-yArDs: I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life

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.

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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.

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38 Equip: Synthetic Core 88

I think we can say that we are now living in the post-truth era. If we’re not, we should still say it. That would make the statement untrue, which would actually prove that we are living in the post-truth era, Which would make the statement true. Though, since we’re living in the post-truth era, the usefulness of saying that we’re living in the ‘post-truth era’ is debatable, as the truth is no longer what we deal in. However, if I say WE’RE LIVING IN THE POST TRUTH ERA really loudly and marry it with whatever’s trending on Twitter right now (Josh Gordon, whoever he is) then perhaps you’ll decide this post is worthy of note.

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Eugh, he’s an American football player?? I thought he was a real person

But when did we enter the era of post-truth? When were we pre-truth, when were we resolutely amid truth, and at what point did truth become a rapidly shrinking figure in our rear view mirror. Some say that the era started with that last paragraph I wrote. This is definitely a minority view however, as at time of writing I am the only person who’s seen that paragraph, and I certainly don’t believe that. Me stating that, however, is another good example of the post-truth age. What do you think of when you think of post-truth? Donald Trump and Brexit? Was 2016 the end of our often fractious relationship with reality?

Continue reading “38 Equip: Synthetic Core 88”

25 PVRIS: All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell

That’s Quite Enough of What We Need of THAT…

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I’ve just been thinking (see above): remember those Paris attacks back in November 2015? They were horrid, weren’t they? I think we can all agree that The Eagles of Death Metal are at best a ‘serviceable’ act, but I don’t think there’s a form of entertainment on Earth that 89 people should be slaughtered just for attending (apart from, of course, [INSERT YOUR OWN JOKE HERE, THEN HAVE SOME FUCKING RESPECT]). 130 people were murdered* in total, which I think we can all agree is far too many.

Continue reading “25 PVRIS: All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell”

87 Regina Spektor: Remember Us to Life

OK, let’s first address the elephant in the room: I read a remarkable think piece in The Economist recently that broached the conspiracy theory that Ms Spektor’s name doesn’t actually rhyme with ‘vagina’. This is obviously #FakeNews and should not under any circumstances be tolerated

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I mean, maybe once in bloody Moscow Ms Spektor might have refrained from that pronunciation, as in the bloody Commie Ruskie language it wouldn’t have had the same impact, but I think we can safely assume that she is well aware of its power now. I mean, why wouldn’t you encourage that? I would kill to have my name potentially rhyme with a woman’s genitals. But no, I’m just plain old Alexander Sveti-Hollogs

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God damnI say God damn!- I used to adore Ms Vagina, she released two albums of absolutely masterful indie pop that managed to expertly combine flashes of arch Soviet weirdness with an unquenchable pop spark, without ever amounting to anything less than utter beauty

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Continue reading “87 Regina Spektor: Remember Us to Life”