Divine Youth

Divine Youth: 2/Okay

Many of the songs from Futurology and Rewind The Film still feel new enough to me that I’m not sure whether I like them or tolerate them. Only a few of the songs from both albums had an immediate quality which grabbed me on first listen, while other have taken their time to sink their claws in. Tracks like Divine Youth are still floating in some nether realm for me, possibly due to the detached nature, possibly due to the fact that it’s yet another with a guest vocalist I don’t like in any capacity. The band has had a long history of guest singers, and yet I don’t think it’s something they excel at. They do pick distinct voices, but they tend to be singers who irritate me personally. The guest here is Georgia Ruth Williams (no, me neither), and while she sings with a distinct Welsh accent, it’s all so bland and feathery that it floats by like a momentary bad smell. When Bradfield comes in with his vocals, it is excessively jarring as he blasts at full tear. Musically, there are harps, guitars, strange synthetic bursts, but it’s very slow, and the complaint about how modern technology is melting away youthful angst, exuberance, and vitality comes off as sounding like the ramblings of a bitter old man rather than revealing the truths that reside in the sentiment.

Actual Lyrics (Georgia’s accent makes her vocals as indecipherable as a standard Manics song): Ice with a look of yesterday

2. We can’t stand the crowd/Weakest in the guard.

3. Grown up in your tender bones/bone up in your tender bones (?)

4. Niceing to myself (?)

5. The seven walls within

6. The victories and failures are daily losing wins.

7. Money is just spies

8. Feeding you don’t owe anymore.

9. Big toe it don’t recognise

10. Kids are growing old in a digital face/kids are growing old in a digital age

11. Exit evolution

Misheard Lyrics: Eyes with the look of yesterday

2. The weakest in the gang

3. No luck in your tender bones

4. And I sing to myself

5. My civil wars within

6. The victories and failures I daily lose and win

7. Money it just buys

8. A freedom you don’t own anymore

9. But don’t recognise

10. Kids are growing old in a digital haze

11. Is it evolution

 

 

Ranking The Manics Songs – Futurology

Futurology continued the band’s latter day acclaimed run, with the album also racking up their best sales in a decade. It has more consistent highs for me than Rewind The Film, but its low points are very low. What is the most depressing thing to me is the reliance on other vocalists, as James continues to tire of singing. It’s a shame as Bradfield is one of the finest singers Britain has ever produced and the guests here are almost always terrible. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if the singers were good… they’re just not. Replace the singers and I’d like the songs a lot more. Again, there isn’t a huge list of B-Sides to choose from, but some are good in spite of Nicky’s vocals. The difference is that the B-Sides have grown on me while the album tracks I’d replace them with have slipped in my estimation. Ranking time:

  1. Black Square
  2. Misguided Missile
  3. Futurology
  4. The View From Stow Hill
  5. Let’s Go To War
  6. Europa Geht Durch Mich
  7. Walk Me To The Bridge
  8. The Next Jet To Leave Moscow
  9. Mayakovsky
  10. Divine Youth
  11. Dreaming A City
  12. Sex Power Love And Money
  13. Between The Clock And The Bed

Really those bottom five songs I would happily cut. Mayakovsky is far from their worst instrumental, Divine Youth and Between would be marginally better with a different guest singer. Sex Power Love And Money is ill-advised all around and needed a different vocal approach from James.  The good thing about the B-Sides is that they all fit neat and sweet with the sound and tone of the album. Antisocialmanifesto is quite lovely in spite of Nicky’s lead and it takes a sharp left turn midway through into a bizarre funk breakdown which somehow works. Blistered Mirrors is a clattering jumble with a touch of The Beatles while Empty Motorcade starts out like the techno theme-tune to a creepy kids TV show – it may be the best of the bunch. The Last Time I Saw Paris has a mystery female vocalist – is it Nina Hoss again? It has a rambling verse but a decent chorus, while Caldey has a great chorus and decent verse.

  1. Futurology
  2. Walk Me To The Bridge
  3. Let’s Go To War
  4. The Next Jet To Leave Moscow
  5. Europa Geht Durch Mich
  6. Blistered Mirrors
  7. Empty Motorcade
  8. Caldey
  9. Black Square
  10. The Last Time I Saw Paris
  11. Misguided Missile
  12. The View From Stow Hill
  13. Mayakovsky

That was a tricky one, mainly because while I enjoy some of the B-Sides I get the feeling that I’d be less keen on them over time. Let us know in the comments how you would rank the songs and any you would replace with a particular B-Side!

Manic Mondays – 7th July 2014

Give me a chance – Futurology, the new album by Manic Street Preachers has only arrived today and I’ll need time to let it all sink in. Meanwhile, here’s one from the archives when I hit shuffle:

‘Petrified for the millionth time/slowly my soul evaporates
No parachutes/no dismal clouds/just this fucking space’

I’m Not Working