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”

Rumble in the Bumble pt.9

Previous parts

I don’t mind telling you, sports fans, I really hate this blog right now. In fact, I’d even go as far as to say that this fucking blog has very much replaced alcohol in my life, in that it might be good for a few laughs and occasionally leads to opportunities of great fun and the odd sexual encounter*, but more generally it is the source of basically every fuck up that I ever make. Notice how I seemed to become far less concerned with this dumb Bumble series last week, and yet now I’m obviously keen to write it again in order to take my mind of something?? Well, come to your own conclusions.

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(*I should be clear here that this statement was mostly a joke, less than a dozen women have had sex with me because of this blog)

Recent incidents in my life have really forced me to question ‘What kind of a fucking person am I?’. Well, luckily, if you remember way back in part 8 we were introduced to people who described themselves as things like ‘INJF‘ and ‘INJP‘ and ‘INXS‘ and ‘INTEL INSIDE‘, which I obviously initially read as cool street talk for certain sexual peccadilloes, such as ‘Inner Neck Japanese Fun’ or ‘I Negate Jordan Peterson’ (that’s basically just existing as a transgendered or nonbinary person), but it turns out these were actual personality types!!

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Rumble in the Bumble pt.2

Part one

So Bumble is installed, time to open my account, type in my details and…

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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.

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55 Don’t Do It Neil: B/X

“Descend deep in my body
Ascend me from my body
From my body tonight
Free me from my body tonight”

OK, fair warning- maybe even a trigger warning, but I’ve got to be careful because some people get so fucking angry when you word a content warning that way*- but this post might go to some pretty dark places. I mean, I’m just going to talk about my life a bit, which is always going to be a bit dark, isn’t it? For you, I mean. I’m alright with it, I fucking live with it, but I appreciate how some people might get a bit uncomfortable. These people can just read my Princess Nokia bit again, that was pretty funny. I’m going to use the brilliant ‘B/X’ album as a jumping off point to talk about how I was ‘freed from my body’, then masterfully bring it back at the end to Don’t Do It Neil. It’ll be a fucking amazing post, and I don’t know why more people don’t read this blog, it’s fuckin’ straight fire.

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(*because some people- and I can’t stress this enough- are fucking dumb)

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2019’s Best Movie: Sorry We Missed You

Yeah, I know, continuing my proud tradition of naming the year’s best movie alongside the albums of the year countdown. ‘Under the Skin‘ was named 2014’s movie of the year, but the award went unclaimed in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and indeed every year before 2014. However, the (latest) masterpiece by Ken Loach, ‘Sorry We Missed You,’ was such a powerful piece that inspired such painful bolts of recognition and sheer fucking anger that I had to make space in 2019 to talk about it.

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Oh, and by the way, this isn’t going to be one of those “Ooooooh, look at the camera angles! isn’t the mise en scène lovely?! Hints of Akira Kurosawa’s vagina dentata, perhaps??” reviews, as I have no interest in actually talking about the movie. Instead, these is mainly going to be a thousand words or so of me ranting about the twisted nature of capitalism in 2019. Like I said, it’s gonna be a lot of fun.

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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!

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25 Princess Nokia: A Girl Cried Red

“It get lonely at the top and I do it by myself
I got everything I want without anybody help
Do you think I give a fuck? Only care about myself
I’m a stone-cold killer, couple notches on my belt”

How much do you think your life is governed by your own actions? How much do you believe it’s actually under the jurisdiction of outside forces that are not of your making, or even understanding? That’s right, it’s Boxing Day and, as Thomas scoffed at Jesus as he sceptically rolled his eyes, it’s time to talk about your locus of control.

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See that picture there? Yeah, that pretty much explains what a ‘locus of control’ is. I’m going to explain it again here though because, I dunno, you might have a very specific type of blindness, or maybe your version of Netscape doesn’t support pictures. It’s important for me to explain it myself, because I don’t like to feel that a blog this insightful, inspirational and- dare I say it?- woke, could just as easily be written by pasting appropriate pictures from Google images. Also, my sponsor pays me by the word, so this completely superfluous paragraph has already made me a very rich man. Anyway, locus of control:

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31 Robyn: Honey

I freaking love ‘Honey’. I just thought it important to let you know before I complain about it for 693 words.

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(*I intentionally left that number blank until I’d written the piece. 552 words: boom! Unfortunately, I then had to write this completely superfluous parenthesised section here, so I had to then check the new word count and log that in. 590. However, I then chose to write this little extra bit on the end, which further enlarged the word count. I just wanted you to let you in on the artistic process. It’s fucking exhausting, isn’t it? Then I remembered I wanted to write a ‘past glories’ bit. Then I had to write about that bit here. Had to)

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60 Soccer Mommy: Clean

By many definitions of the word, I’ve been ‘clean’ for about three years now.

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By which I mean I no longer drink alcohol. As for other drugs, I’m fond of saying that “I’m either never high or high all the time, depending on how you look at it” due to the cocktail of prescription drugs I consider essential to my psychological upkeep and the fact I’m a stone cold banter merchant. However, as wry and cheeky as the statement may be, it’s not strictly true, and a far more accurate statement would be “I’m either never high, but sometimes really fucking high, or high all the time, and sometimes really fucking high, depending in how you look at it”, as I still enjoy recreational drugs. Because of course I do- drugs are awesome. Kids, just say ‘yes’. If more kids tried drugs we’d have far less problems in the world as potential alcoholics discover a cleaner way to search for the experience of another body. I mean, yeah, sure, we’d have a lot more heroin and crack cocaine addicts, but you’ve got to break a few omelettes to make a good egg, or something

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66 Charli XCX: Pop 2

“You got me doin’ all this stupid shit/You fuck me up like this/Secretly I’m into it though”

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OK…

OK…

OK.

So it’s 2018, and I still think that in many ways we really need to demystify sex. I know, I know, my views on sex are probably about as valid as a chinchilla’s take on the fallout from the Arab Spring. Sure, you’ll be slightly impressed that the chinchilla (me) has at least heard of it, but you’re unlikely to think that his views on the matter carry much weight and are worth much consideration, and all things considered you’d really prefer it if the chinchilla (me) instead concentrated on learning not to shit on the carpet. Regardless, I honestly don’t think I’m going to be hurting anyone by expressing these views, and my opinions are backed with absolutely no conviction of bravery at all, so I’ll just delete this post if it ever looks like I’m likely to be included in Jon Ronson’s next book. And anyway, in terms of people thinking less of me, I don’t think there’s a lower level for me to collapse into.

Continue reading “66 Charli XCX: Pop 2”