The Everlasting

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

I’ve never understood the hate this one gets, particularly from longstanding fans of the band. Perhaps it’s because it’s so overtly a ballad in sound, perhaps it’s because it revels in its own defeatism, perhaps its because there isn’t a trace of punk either in sound or attitude. What it is though is one of the most beautiful, tortured ballads ever written, the admission of a band who set out to conquer the world that they failed utterly (at least they believed they did) and that they lost so much along the way. It’s the most honest 6 minutes of tragedy you’re ever likely to hear, all played to gorgeous strings, broken up guitars, gut-wrenching melodies, and one of my all time favourite guitar solos – the stretched, extended notes fish-hooking into your soul and tearing for all they’re worth. A brutal and brilliant way to open the album.

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The Everlasting: 4/Great

Misheard Lyrics: All you are old I hear you say

Actual Lyrics: Oh you’re old I hear you say

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If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

How to follow up the mammoth unexpected success of your last album? Release your biggest song? This single became the band’s first UK number 1, and remains their only single released in the US. Based around the idealism of young (Welsh) volunteers who signed up to fight with the rebels in the Spanish Civil War, the song has since been used for any number of causes, ironic, apt, or otherwise. With powerful, poetic, literary lyrics it is one of those songs it was always amusing to see people with barely a thought in their head singing along too, especially when it was released. The song is so effortlessly catchy that everyone gets swept along with it’s melancholy verse, string-drenched chorus, and it still holds probably the finest example of the Manics ‘ooh and aahs’ trademark thanks to that extended ending.

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If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next: 4/Great

Misheard Lyric: Hosing your hair today/but I am past a feast

Actual Lyric: Holes in your today/but I’m a pacifist

This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours

Having established themselves as one of Britain’s biggest bands, the Manics 5th album was highly anticipated. Not only did they have to follow up their most successful album, they had to do it completely free of Richey’s input. It is an album of two halves- the first being commercial and containing the singles (including their first number 1) while the second is a much more downbeat and experimental affair. Mostly gone are the big guitars and rock sound, replaced by pianos, strings, and a more gloomy tone.  This second half is mostly dismissed by fans, but on closer inspection it contains some of Nicky’s most personal work. It must be applauded for the fact that the band were not simply trying to release another Everything Must Go, and trying new sounds and ideas. The first 6 songs are classic hitmaking Manics- catchy melodies, big choruses, and other loveliness.  A mixed bunch then, but stronger than the next album.

Songs coming soon…