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Manic Street Preachers- Everything must go

Updated on January 27, 2013

The release of the album "Everything must go" heralded the return of the Manic Street Preacher's after the disappearance of iconic member Richey Edwards. Where the previous album "The Holy Bible" existed in a state punchy snarling horror of angst, rebellion and self loathing. The release of the 1996 follow up from the Welsh trio was a different, more reflective release.

Mixing the lyric's of new hope and past failing's, the direction of the remaining Manic's was more uplifting than previous releases but still had the air of unspoken tragedy lingering in the background. This was an emotional comeback album for the band to write, record, release and tour. Upon listening to the album after the previous Holy Bible , it was the right choice of record to produce.

The Manic Street Preacher's as a Quartet c 1993
The Manic Street Preacher's as a Quartet c 1993

Album Track Listing

  1. Elvis Impersonator
  2. A Design for Life #
  3. Kevin Carter #
  4. Enola/Alone
  5. Everything Must Go #
  6. Small Black Flowers
  7. The Girl who Wanted to be God
  8. Removables
  9. Austrailia #
  10. Interiors
  11. Further Away
  12. No Surface but all Feeling

# denote's the track is a single taken off the album

If you listened to the last track off the Holy Bible Album and then put on track one of the follow up album, you would be confused by the change in tempo content and vibe. From the hyper speed rant of PCP, you are met with a kind of folksy quaint intro. Elvis impersonator feels like a homage to the glory days of American glitz meeting Northern English irrelevance. It is fitting that the song focus is on the downfall of glamour and the acceptance of a situation. You could call this a real farewell to excess seen in the album " Gold Against the Soul ".

Track Two is the single that sell's the album to those who had no knowledge of the Manic Street Preachers. The beauty of the track is the band's ability to mix a soaring anthem of hope with the lyric's that describe the Great Britain of the time. The lyric of " We don't talk about love, we only want to get drunk" is sung with football chant repetition by the drunken festival goer's with no hint of irony.

Kevin Carter is an ode to a famous photographic journalist and it's subject matter is at odds with it's music. This make's the song rather than ruin's it, although not to everyone's taste the guitar work is very upbeat and intricate. My only gripe with the song is the trumpet was over used and a guitar line would have worked better.

Enola/ Alone either take's its name from the "Enola Gay" which dropped one of the Atomic bomb's on Japan to end the Second World War or it is just simply Alone spelt backwards. The song is one of my favourite track's off the album as it has a haunting melody which could have fitted into their previous darker album(s).

Track Five is the title track "Everything must go" and it is the Manic Street Preacher's making a statement that they must move on. The music is grandiose while the lyric's are honest and eloquent. If you listen to the music closely their is a lot going on with multi-tracked guitar's crashing against almost operatic expression. Despite the overproduction of the music the song actually works really well to convey the simple message of continuation.

The next track is one which would not look out of place on any of the band's previous albums, " Small Black flower's that grow in the Sky" is an acoustic only song which highlight's captivity of intelligence. It is arguably one of the most accomplished musical compositions of the band and is lyrically attributed to the missing member Richey Edwards. I think most Manic fan's would have liked to have seen this made a single, but it would have struggled to convince a wider audience to purchase it.

Track Seven is the Sylvia Plath inspired " The Girl who wanted to be God", the sound of the track is metropolitan with it's lyric's very uplifting. The song is good, but lacks the intensity of other tracks on the Album. Track Eight "Removable's" suffer's from the same mid album malaise, although a decent enough song it's message is very middle of the road and it's subject matter was covered in Everything must go.

Australia is a dramatic improvement on the last two song's which are overly reflective. Australia is about escaping the situation and the feeling, it maybe sums up the feeling's of the group while they waited abandoned in their homes. The song is back to a higher tempo, and is one of the group's more populist adventure's, little did fan's realise how this song pointed towards the next album's direction.

Track number ten is the rather average "Interior's" and is a song I often skip by. Although the song is not too bad, it suffer's from been obvious album track only quality. It is one song I have never seen or heard of them performing live. Dealing with abstract perspective, the song is positive but suffer's from having to compete with some excellent tracks earlier on.

Further Away is maybe the first song you could class as a Manic Street Preacher "Love Song" It is a fairly simplistic lyrical love song raised to above average by some energetic guitar work and a catchy hook. A radical departure from the usual angst filled Manic's and set the tone for future album tracks.

The final song on the album is No Surface but all feeling and is one of the only recorded Album tracks were Richey play's on the mix. Taken from Richey's left over lyrics and a much rehearsed Guitar riff. The start off of the music could put some off, but those who persevere will be rewarded with tenderness mixed with a driving rhythm .

Early Manic Street Preacher's c 1991
Early Manic Street Preacher's c 1991

Your opinion

Having listened to the album how many Stars would you give it?

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Overall this is an album that seeks to distance itself from it's previous style. It is a bridging album for the old and new fan's, It serves its purpose and along the way offers a handful of classic songs that defined the Manic Street Preacher's moving on from their darker past. This is not a pop rock record, but it lack's the previous album's ability to make you think. The Album was released at a time of Oasis and Blur still dominating the charts/ For those who wish to listen to the sound of a group maturing into elder statesman of the alternative rock scene, I really recommend that you give it a listen.


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    • Asp52 profile image

      Asp52 4 years ago from England

      Thank' for the comment, I think on reflection it was the only way to break free from the Holy Bible and forge a new 3-piece identity. The band occupies a very special place in my heart, although more recent albums have left me a bit cold.

    • frantisek78 profile image

      frantisek78 4 years ago

      Nice hub! I've been a huge MSP fan for years and this album does have some great songs, and also some not so special, in my opinion. I'll have to give the album a listen again now to freshen my memory! All Surface No Feeling is my favorite track on this album. Voted up!