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”

(Stats, Not War) Just the End of the List

So it’s time to say goodbye to my already world renowned list of the greatest Manic Street Preachers songs by providing a statistical breakdown of the scientifically peer reviewed list that literally dozens of people are still buzzing about. Why? I don’t fucking know, I feel like I just have to by this point. Plus Necessary Evil 2021 will be starting in December (put yo hands in the aye-yer!!) and I feel that if I don’t conduct this largely meaningless counting exercise done before then, I might end up never doing it. And you know what will happen then, my friend? That’s right: Arma-fucking-geddon.

Also, with delightful serendipity, unbeknownst to me when I began planning my list the wonderful New Chart Riot blog began compiling votes for their quinquennial (there you go, your new word today) top 50 of the greatest Manics songs, so along with putting the top half of my list forward for suggestion, I have also used data collected by the blog so far to reach some conclusions toward the end of the post. Are those conclusions sweeping? Why, yes. Are they unfair? How could they not be? Are they needlessly offensive? My dear, what would be the point otherwise?

Quick note: this post is unlikely to be 30’000+ words.

Continue reading “(Stats, Not War) Just the End of the List”

My Life in Albums (part 2 97-06)

You want an intro? You got that in part one! Let’s get down to the dirty, sticky and dangerously unhygienic business:

1997

This was an important year for me, this was when shit got real. Yeah, Labour won the election, which I was aware I was supposed to celebrate but not yet conscious enough to know exactly why, just that ‘our team won*. Princess Diana died, inspiring a nationwide reaction that even 13 year old Alex Palmer recognised as being a bit fucking much**. All that was meaningless background noise though, as most importantly 1997 was the year that I became really switched on to new music. Before this point, most of the albums I’ve listed would have been discovered by me later and posthumously lusted after in the kind of nostalgic necrophilia that I would later grow to despise. Yeah, sorry if you’ve already imagined me as an incredibly cool seven year old bopping his head to Soon by My Bloody Valentine. From this point on, these important albums in my life and personal development were pretty much all discovered as contemporaries. Seriously though, ‘It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah’ was the first CD that I ever owned. Yeah. I’m that cool/weird.

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“Dad, this is why you’re only allowed to see me one weekend every other month…”

Continue reading “My Life in Albums (part 2 97-06)”

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:

hio

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”

92 Kate Tempest: Let Them Eat Chaos

In Hamburg in 1834, a young army officer, Baron von Ropp, was attempting to woo the uncommonly beautiful Countess Lodoiska, the green eyed widow of a Polish general, but was wary that the handsome young army officer Baron von Trautmasdorf posed a serious challenge for the beauty’s affections. Because this was the early 19th century, and history is fucking brilliant, Von Ropp felt the best way to lesson the threat of his rival was to slander his good name. Which he did. By writing a poem. About his moustache

+1

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Continue reading “92 Kate Tempest: Let Them Eat Chaos”

93 Angel Olsen: My Woman

Wait…

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So there’s the Olsen Twins, yeah? And there’s that one in the ‘Avengers’ film with the magic ability to do absolute anything that the plot requires at that moment, and now there’s Angel Olsen, so how many of them are there in total? Is it four different Olsen’s? Or is there actually just one Olsen, and our belief that there are more is a shadowy conspiracy by the Illuminati/Jews to hide Barack Hussein Obama’s real birthplace in order to pretend that Tupac is dead?

+3

Continue reading “93 Angel Olsen: My Woman”

101 Kevin Gates: Isiah

My contacts in the hip hop community

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warn me that ‘Kevin Gates; is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to uninspiring anf unmemorable rap names

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I have been reliably informed that the days of exciting nom de plumes such as Old Dirty Bastard, Tyler the Creator, Slap-de-Wit the Immortal Instigator and Watch My Dicky Leg are over

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‘Nom de plume’ in French literally translates as ‘the name of plumage’, as it is common for Gallic birds to have separate names for when they are fully-feathered, as Napoleon thought it obscene that ‘le disgustient pink merdes’ be attributed the same name when they are all naked and disgusting. For example, a plucked chicken body, the like of which you’re likely to buy in Le Tesco, is called ‘poulet’, while the proper, fully feathered beauty that you’re likely to decapitate to test urban legends down at the local farm is referred to as ‘ooh la la! Les pompe poulet de cheeky cheeky plume plume!’

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My contacts in the hip hop community assure me that I shall really notice the sea change in 2017, where I’ll see new releases by ‘Geoff Turnbull’, ‘Paul Johnson’ and ‘Stuart’. Remember Stuart? Well he’s dedicated four tracks to you on his debut rap album, maybe now you’ll give him the time of day? He knows that he’ll never replace your real Dad, but your Mother loves Stuart very much, and Christmas is going to be a lot easier this year if you at least acknowledge his presence

-3

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Kevin Gates isn’t even his real name! It’s like me releasing my dope debut mixtape as Alexander Furnkwith

-2

My rap name would be Rhyme Minister. Rhyme Minister Yeah! Rhyme Minister Ho Need Yeah!

+3

It’ll be a Tony Blair reference, yes, because say what you will about his politics and the blood of half a million people on his hands, he once did that hilarious Catherine Tate bit for Comic Relief, so he’s obviously a top geezer

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See? Not bothered

Perhaps the greatest strength of Mr Gates’s (is it, like, a Bill Gates reference? Because that’s just… just…) debut album proper is how much of a fully realised solo offering: almost completely free of the endless guest spots that can far too often clutter and saturate rap albums, and with every hook and chorus coming exclusively through Gates

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And ‘Isiah’ is a procession of top quality hooks, hooks you could hang Mussolini off,

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hooks you could pester Peter Pan with, a real ‘hard hook story’, it’s an album done very much ‘by the hook’, it’s like the Farrelly Brothers film ‘Hook On You’, or the Happy Mondays song Wrote for Hook…

by hook or by crook….

like when Kurt Angle comes out…

and all the crowd start chanting…

…’you hook’…

…OK, I’m done…

+3

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It’s just a shame that such a singular demonstration of Gates’s indisputable talents couldn’t have perhaps strayed a little from standard well crafted hip-hop, and no matter how fantastic its heights are, the lack of anything unique and unusual can make the record’s already testing length seem to especially drag

-7

‘She got me like Michael/Jackson, Jordan, it don’t matter to me’. See, that distinction really would matter to me…

-8

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Bollocks… https://twitter.com/jamesknightbad

-5

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 A small but pleasant pronunciation +5

Also, I don’t know why, but I was very impressed by the correct apostrophe usege in the title of Thought I Heard (Bread Winners’ Anthem)

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As further tribute to Prince

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I think points should be awarded for any artistic license taken with spelling (not grammer though, that shit’s biblical!!), so Kevin has to be applauded for Kno One. Is it meant to be ‘know one’, as in ‘I used to know one chap who refused to acknowledge the existence of Macedonia’, or ‘no-one’, as in ‘no-one has ever been to Macedonia, so why are we putting so much trust into so called ‘experts’?’? Either way, it’s equally wrong and so equally right

+5

‘You the only one that my dick could get hard for/I’m confused, what the fuck you want my heart for?’ That line has to be worth a good

8 Prince Points

Metacritic: +81

Ah, come on now….

Length 63 minutes –17

Best Lyric: ‘Bad motherfucker, God complex/Motivate your ass, call me Malcolm X’ +1

Is the last song just the first track but played on Ukulele? No -1

Total 70

Pics stolen from:

https://intl.target.com/p/kevin-gates-islah/-/A-50489578

https://www.usbornebooksathome.co.uk/catalogue/catalogue.aspx?cat=1&area=ED&subcat=EDD&id=7608

https://www.petful.com/grooming/why-do-cats-lick-each-other/

https://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-14930800-stock-footage-woman-ticking-off-grocery-list-in-grocery-store.html

https://grayciebay.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/the-journey-of-a-plump-chicken/