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”

Necessary Evil 2020 pt.9 (35-31)

#35 Waxahatchee: Saint Cloud

That’s what ah want-eeeeeeh-yed, it’s not as if we cried a ri’ver called it rai-ee-yay-ain..

If you’ve ever read this blog- like at all, you ingrate philistine- you know how I spend roughly 40% of my time elucidating how special Katie Crutchfield’s musical project is. I am very much a Waxahitcher, which is a term I’ve just made up for the sort of Waxahatchee fan who’s dedicated/deluded enough to invent a term for the level of insanity that their fandom warrants. She made the most important album of 2013 to me, which, yeah, I didn’t admit at the time, but respect the retcon!

#HanShotWheneverMrLucasSaysHeDid #ThisIsADumbFilmForChildren #GrowUp.

Continue reading “Necessary Evil 2020 pt.9 (35-31)”

Rumble in the Bumble pt.8

Previous parts

Ah, Hurley. Remember Hurley? Sure you do, she spoke in code about hating the police and people from Cradley Heath, and made it very clear that she was after someone over six foot two despite announcing her lust for Calloway, who only lists his height as three foot nothing. All of that can be forgiven, but she announced one thing that many people would simply find utterly unforgivable:

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Eugh! Eugh, eugh, eugh, eugh, eugh! A vegan!! Vegans are the worst aren’t they?? With their… with their… with their vegatables… and… and… and their… and their… fucking… lentils… We all hate vegans, don’t we?

Continue reading “Rumble in the Bumble pt.8”

Rumble in the Bumble pt.1

Have you noticed how things are a bit weird at the moment? Like, there seems to be something in the air, doesn’t there? People seem to be a little less socially active these days; nobody came to your barbecue last Thursday; WWE crowds are drastically down; you’re pretty sure Paul should have been at school these past few weeks not that you’re going to ask the little shit and risk getting pulled into an endless conversational loop about the largest dinosaurs; and Italian mayors seem to be furious these days. Something’s… different

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“Aye! Why-a you play-a da pinga-pong?!” #CasualRacism

I don’t watch the news- if I wanted a posh voice feeding me a liberal agenda I’d just ring my parole officer- but it’s clear to me what’s happened. There’s an unmistakable stench of disappointment overlaying an aggressive smog of sadness that’s infected the whole country. They know. You know. Everyone knows.

I am now officially single.

Continue reading “Rumble in the Bumble pt.1”

Legit Bosses: The 112 Best Songs of 2019

OK OK OK! There were 112 amazing songs released in 2019 (or, erm, released earlier but I just listened to them a lot this year), and here is the definitive, objective and scientifically proven ranking. You can disagree all you want, just remember your disagreement is merely an opinion and this list is fact.

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Or maybe not. I made a big change of tablet and therefore music player this year, and I might not have remembered all of the songs I deemed to be Legit Bosses earlier in the year. But whatever, here are 112 amazing songs, here’s the YouTube list and here’s the Spotify playlist, now please leave me alone, yeah?

Starting at number 112 wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiith…

Continue reading “Legit Bosses: The 112 Best Songs of 2019”

10 SPELLLING: Mazy Fly

Hey kids, SPELLLING is fun.

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You know what the extra ‘L’ in ‘SPELLLING’ stands for, right? Exactly. It stands for ‘loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool’. Yeah, I know, there’s a reason they call me ‘Lolacoaster Tycoon’. They probably throw a ‘banter’ pun in there as well, but to be honest all the good ones have already been taken and I don’t want to spend this entire ‘review’ trying to ‘remember’ what they said, you understand? ‘Eric Banterna’ has definitely been taken, hasn’t it? That’s a shame, as that one would have really suited me. The ‘Wine Debanter‘? No, that doesn’t quite work…

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Necessary Evil (47-43)

47 Blank Banshee: Metamorphosis

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Zzzzzzzzzzzzum, weeeeeeeeeeeear-kazummazum… Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzum-wenkwenkwenk, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzdoo-baba-doo-baba-doo-baba-doo-baba. Sing along at the back.

‘Metamorphosis’ is a stunning 20 minutes of the most lushly created electronic music you’re likely to hear in 2019. I don’t want to be ‘that guy*’ again, but it’s really a piece of work that needs to be consumed through headphones (consumed… through headphones…?) to really appreciate the power and complexity of the music. Listening to the layered quasi-ambient beauty of ‘Metamorphosis’ you appreciate how far Blank Banshee has come since he was originally considered within the constraints of Vaporwave (or, indeed, ‘Vaportrap‘).

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You can no longer get the singular tracks, so just listen to the whole thing you lazy fucker

(*’that guy’ being someone who just points out facts. Don’t you fucking hate that guy??)

Yeah. How’s about that. Some proper fucking writing there, huh??

Metacritic: n/a

Continue reading “Necessary Evil (47-43)”

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.

Smash

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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12 Kanye West: Ye

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Next September, it’ll be ten years since Kanye West famously interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 VMA awards. Which award? Which Taylor Swift song/video/album won? Which work by Beyonce was Kanye so aggrieved didn’t win? Literally nobody knows. And yet I promise you that every person you mention the moment to will be able to do a pitch perfect Kanye West impression from the moment. It was a dumb moment at a dumb musical award that nobody (at least in this country) gives two shiny shits about, and yet that moment of Peak Megalolz was still honestly one of the biggest and most discussed cultural events of the 21st century. Such was (and still is) the cultural cache attached to Mr. West.

Continue reading “12 Kanye West: Ye”