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Journal For Plague Lovers - Manic Street Preachers

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Genre: Indie Rock & Punk - Britpop / Artist: Manic Street Preachers / Special Edition / Audio CD released 2009-05-18 at Sony Music

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      25.07.2009 19:54
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      It's not The Holy Bible Mk.II that many will expect, but it's their best since Everything Must Go.

      1. Peeled Apples.

      Opening with the eerie extract of 'You know so little about me: what if I turn into a werewolf or something?', the opening track of the record is an absolute cracker. A sneering, military beat straight out of the Holy Bible school of songwriting combines with a swaggering guitar riff, adding up to possibly the finest track on the record.

      2. Jackie Collins Existential Question Time.

      Possibly the craziest title the Manics have ever come up with, the second track is another beauty. Beginning with a layer of delayed guitar harmonics that wouldn't sound out of place on a U2 record, the song erupts into a cacophony of riffing and Bradfield's demented bellowing. Marvellous.

      3. Me and Stephen Hawking.

      A stop-start riff reminiscient of Everything Must Go's 'Australia', it reverts to a quiet, almost jazz-like chorus that manages to maintain an air of...well, affection, before reverting back to the main riff for the close of the track. Another great song, and three out of three pearlers so far.

      4. This Joke Sport Severed.

      The first ballad is a strong contender for the most depressing song on the record, but it's still a good one. Bleak lyrics showcase James Dean Bradfield's remarkable gift for turning the most unstructured ramblings of Richey's mind into something that you can hum. Initially based around Bradfield and his accoustic guitar, the track ends with a beautiful mix of strings and growling, moody electric guitar.

      5. Journal For Plague Lovers.

      Being the title track is often the kiss of death for a song, bringing with it extra focus and expectation. Luckily for the Manics, this is an all out rocker, and a strong contender for a future single. If you're a fan of Gold Against The Soul, you'll love this one.

      6. She Bathed Herself In a Bath of Bleach.

      If there was an award for bleakest title, this would win it hands down. However, those of you expecting another ballad will be surprised: this is musically the most up-beat track on the record, and reports from the early concerts indicate this has become a live favourite. A huge chorus and a great riff: what more do you need?

      7. Facing Page: Top Left.

      Having been described by Bradfield on tour as being 'an absolute bitch to play', Facing Page is the second ballad of the record. It's feel is strongly reminiscient of 'Small Black Flowers That Grow in The Sky', Bradfield's delicate accoustic arrangements mixed in with what sounds like a harp playing in the background would make for an almost comfortable listen, if it wasn't for some of the most depressing words on the record.

      8. Marlon J.D.

      Initially coming across as one of the album's weaker cuts, Marlon J.D is definately a grower, and is another song to have been gaining positive reports from the Manic's live concerts. Some of the track's power is definately lost due to Bradfield's vocal performance, which seems based more around semi-talking the lyrics, rather than lending them his undoubted talent for an earnest roar.

      9. Doors Closing Slowly.

      Based around a simple, marching beat, and minimal instrumentation, this is the first track to come across as nothing but filler. Clocking in at a short 2.51, it is hard to see how the record would suffer without this track on it.

      10. All Is Vanity.

      A return to form after the previous track, we are blessed with another sneering, Holy Bible style riff and a great sneering, full-of-attitude vocal performance from Bradfield, who sings the cynical refrain of 'That's a fact of life, sunshine' with glee.

      11.Pretension/Revulsion.

      Even on such an unconventional record, this track is the weirdest of beasts. Possesing a lazy, slouching riff that would fit quite snugly into an Oasis record, it jolts into a raging chorus that seems devoid of any real hook. Unusual, bizarre and out of place, even on this record.

      12. Virginia State Epileptic Colony.

      Despite being nudged into second place by Jackie Collins for the weirdest title on the album, this mid-pacer finds it hard to stand up against the earlier, stronger cuts on the record. Possessing neither the roar of Bath of Bleach, or the sneer of Peeled Apples, this mid-pacer pips Doors Closing Slowly as the weakest track on the album.

      13. William's Last Words.

      Nicky Wire sings on this track.

      Yup, you read that right. The lead vocals on this track - a track that many fans are voicing could be Richey's suicide note - are provided by Mr Nicholas Wire.

      Once you've got past the sheer oddness of a Manics song without Bradfields impassioned voice, the bassist's dull tones actually provide a strong sense of catharsis to the depression and disapointment that has preceded this song. For the first time, the Manics, and Richey, sound peaceful. It's a weirdly beautiful end to a weirdly beautiful record.

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      19.07.2009 13:38
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      More from the great Richey James Edwards

      ==Journal For Plagued Lovers==

      Richey Edwards disappeared in February 1995. He was due to fly to the US; he had been withdrawing £200 a day for the past week or so, checked out the Embassy hotel at seven am, and then drove from London to Cardiff. On valentines day that year, his car got a parking ticket, and three days later was reported as abandoned. It is then assumed he jumped off the Severn Bridge. His body has never been found, but there have been rumored sightings of him all over the world. Either way, on November 23rd 2008, he officially became missing - presumed dead.

      Richey Edwards was the lyricist behind the Manic Street Preachers, and wrote most of their songs, up until his disappearance. He is particularly well known from the photographs following an interview with Steve Lamacq, then working for NME. When he questioned Edwards' seriousness, Richey responded by using the razor he had, to carve "4 REAL" into his forearm. He was the whole drive behind the band, and when he disappeared, the band chose to continue, using four songs Richey had written for their 1996 album, "Everything Must Go".

      I have been a fan of the Manics since they released their 1998 album, "This is my truth: tell me yours", which was the only album I had really heard. My ex-girlfriend, Sophie however, was a huge fan, and through that, I began listening to their discography, and discovered just how good the band really are. Their latest release beings the album count to 9.

      ==Opulence==

      A few weeks before he disappeared, Richey Edwards gave Nicky Wire (bassist) a folder, which contained various songs, haikus and collages. He gave photocopies to James Dean Bradfield (guitar + vocals) and Sean Moore (drummer). The Rymans folder with a picture of Bugs Bunny drawn on the front and the word "Opulence", contained 28 songs, of which four were used for "Everything must go", and around 10 were too short or impossible to turn into songs. The rest, make up this album. The first Manic Street Preachers album to contain lyrics 100% from Richey James Edwards. Nicky wire announced that no singles would be released from the album.
      The album artwork was done by Jenny Saville, who designed the last album's artwork which Richey was alive for, "The Holy Bible".

      == The Album ==

      '''Peeled Apples'''

      Opening with a strange extract from a film or something, which appears to have nothing to do with the actual song, but is swiftly followed by the music. It begins with a strong bass beat, and some gravelly sounding guitars come over, throbbing alongside the drum beat. Bradfield's vocals seem to have returned to the same sort of sound used on their previous albums (I was disappointed with their last..), and the song has a pretty sweet sounding chorus. The music repeats the same beats and riffs, and it too contains beautiful resemblance to their early work. While it certainly a pretty good song, it doesn't really contain anything which makes it stand in the back of my mind all the time, and certainly isn't the highlight of the album.

      '''Jackie Collins Existential Question Time'''

      A synthesized sounding riff opens this track up, leading into a nice soft rift with a gentle underlying series of chords. The drums that are beating have a real strength behind them, and as the verse begins, there are two guitar riffs being played - one from the left and one from the right. The chorus sees that original synthesised sound being played again, and is the short refrain of "Oh Mummy, what's a sex pistol?". It is a pretty catchy song, although not one of my favourites from the album.

      '''Me and Steven Hawking'''

      Opening with some German or Russian, or something, which, as normal seems to bear no relevance to the song. The real opening though is great, it has a sweet riff that has a sturdy back to it. The music in general is really catchy, and the lyrics are sung with some real tune to them, creating one of my favourite tracks from the album. The chorus is sang slowly, which suits the song nicely, before thudding back into the verses. iTunes says that is my third favourite from the album, which I think is fair to say. While they said they won't be releasing any singles from the album, this, if they did, would have been perfect.

      '''The Joke Sport Severed'''

      Opening acoustic, a simple series of notes, before the chords come in. The guitar has a nice folk sound to it, and the lyrics when they come in, are double tracked, sounding slightly eerie. Two guitars, nothing else. It then has a strange break down, after a chorus or so, with some crazy random sounds, before the song opens into the full band. Back to an electric guitar, a bass line, a great drum line, and even sound orchestral strings to add a touch of class. Definitley my second favourite track on the album, bringing my only complaint to be that maybe it's a bit too short.

      '''Journal for Plagued Lovers'''

      Drums and feedback, and a stiff bass line begin this song. It has an old feel to it, like some of their early work in "Generation Terrorists", but mixed with "Everything Must Go". Very nice indeed. The music behind the track is OK, nothing massively special or catching, kind of your average Manics track I suppose. It doesn't have anything that really sticks in my mind, and even despite having listened to it about a dozen times, I couldn't think how it sounded when it started.

      '''She Bathed Herself in a Bath of Bleach'''

      This has a great strong bass line, thrown gently behind the drums which pound louder that the strumming on Bradfield's guitar. It has a real angry sound behind it, just like their work on "Generation Terrorists", in fact it would have fitted nicely on that album. The bass leads the song through, except in the chorus when some indistinct guitar chords are struck, and later when there is a nice little solo piece, which fits in pretty well. I read somewhere, that it was written about someone that Richey met whilst in hospital.

      _ "She'd walk on broken glass for love_
      _She thought burnt skin would please her lover_
      _To keep love alive and lust beside_
      _Kind people should never be treated like..."_

      '''Facing Page: Top Left'''

      Another acoustic piece, with a real clear sound to it. It is a really simple song, just Bradfield and his guitar, no drums, no bass, just a splash of some sort of plucked string instrument with a highish pitch, which I have just discovered are Welsh Harps. It is another of my favourites from the album, although I cannot get my head around the lyrics, which are I think, about neophobia, or the fear of something new. The song in whole is a great number, which I imagine would sound awesome performed live with the echoes from the room adding reverb to the powerful sounding song.

      _"Private care, sugar pills, the flak of healing._
      _Fragrance my escort of no meaning_
      _This beauty here dipping neophobia."_

      '''Marlon J.D'''

      It opens with an annoying synthesised sounding drum beat, which I don't like. Overlapped with a strange and frankly boring guitar riff that just folds over the drums. So, for a beginning the song does nothing for me, but as it gets in, and the stupid sounds of fake drums and naff guitar give way to the Manics actually playing their instruments properly, we have a half decent song, with the verses containing that darn drumming. I think this is actually one song where they have not done Richey's words justice, I really don't think the music fits the lyrics properly, and it doesn't have much of a Manic Street Preachers feel to it at all. Probably one of the tracks the album could easily have skipped.

      '''Doors Closing Slowly'''

      Some piano notes fade in briefly, but only stay for a second or two, before a slow thud of the drums enters, and a few gentle clangs from the guitar. It is one of those songs, that I don't know if I like. While it has some great lyrics from Richey Edwards, I think it is the second instance where the band have failed to deliver a great song from it, it isn't unlistenable, just, boring. Maybe it's too slow paced, it just seems to go on for ages, and not in a good way.

      '''All is Vanity'''

      We go from a boring song, to something much better. A clatter on the symbols and a quick roll on the drums see this song opening up. The riff from the guitar with the deep bass and well timed drums opens a great sounding song. The intro is long, much longer than all the others anyway, reaching nearly a minute, and the music is continued through the two verses that the song consists of. While is isn't a masterpiece by any description, it has a catchyness to it, although the absence of any solo piece from the guitar maybe detracts from the song, and if you stuck in something really decent in, the track would be sure to reach one of my favourites.

      '''Pretention / Repulsion'''

      It begins with quickly, just a riff on the guitar and then the singing bass and drums come in, no messing around. Musically the verses keep very simple, the basic little riff and unimaginative drumming keep it going nicely. Come the chorus however, and we have something that sounds perfect for sitting in "The Holy Bible", containing the anger or whatever it was they processed back then, it sounds great. The solo guitar piece is short and not so sweet, mediocre at best, but no matter how crap the solo and the verses, the fact that the chorus has a real buzz to it makes it a really decent song.

      '''Virginia State Epileptic Colony'''

      It opens with something that sounds really un-manics, but soon reverts to their sound. The verses are simple, a nice drum beat and some clattering from the guitar, and although I cannot hear it distinctly a bass line hidden their somewhere to. But the chorus is where this song shines, maybe its just the way "V-S-E-C" is sang, but it really has a great sound, and from then on the song is just so much better. Rather than a guitar solo, there is a little break down piece, with a piano and guitar taking it in turns to play a little tune, sounds pretty decent, then it is time for a couple more renditions of that catchy chorus.

      '''William's Last Words'''

      Opening with some strange sounds which I see as nothing but wasted time, the song soon properly opens to the rolling drum beat. Musically, blissfully simple. Quiet drums. Acoustic strumming, and just a hint of bass, and to sing - well, as a change, it is Mr. Nicky Wire, since Bradfield didn't feel right singing it. This song can be viewed, as being as close to a suicide note as anything from Richey Edwards, and is both lyrically and musically beautiful. The use of violins, cellos and other stringed things, add a shining beauty unbeknown to the rest of the tracks, and serve as an unquestionably perfect close for the album, and for Richey. Initially, the track really annoyed me. I didn't like it at all, I hated Wire's singing, and thought it was far too drab for the song, and it just sounds so un manics-like. But now, that is what I like about it. It sounds different to everything they have ever done, with only vague similarities, and of course the genius behind the lyrics. The song really grew on me, and is now my favourite track on the album, and contains the best lyrics by far, which although are at times ridiculously simple, contain a deep sincerity to them.

      _ "Goodnight my sweetheart_
      _Until we leave tonight_
      _Hold me in your arms_
      _Wish me some luck as you wave goodbye to me"_

      _"You're the best friends I ever had_
      _Goodnight, sleep tight_
      _Goodnight, God bless_
      _Goodnight, nos da_
      _I'll try my best"_

      '''Bag Lady (Hidden Track)'''

      Open a deep bass line, and a strange clatter of the guitars, sounding distant and unimportant. The music contains some old sounds to it, and the singing does too, it is another track that would fit nicely on one of their older albums, maybe "Generation Terrorists" or "Gold Against the Soul" It sounds like they haven't tried to move on at all, and have successfully relapsed to their old sound - and it is awesome. The lyrics are like a poem, it is really well written, and the music compliments it very nicely.

      _ "To be morally good_
      _Only rather to love_
      _A devil pretending to be a god_
      _Laws written on paper and paper burns_
      _Eternity is not a sunrise"_

      == The album as a whole ==

      So, I went and got it as soon as I possibly could, eager to hear more from Richey James Edwards. Looking forward to hearing how the Manics would sound, after being really disappointed with their last album, and falling more in love with their earliest work. I had read that they had been playing with going back to their "The Holy Bible" days, which is possibly one of their best albums, and I can certainly see the areas where they have tried this. I can see touches of "Generation Terrorists" and "Everything Must Go" too, but it is such a mixed album I really don't know what to think.

      While they have definitely beaten their last album, which I despise, and contains about 2 tracks at the most I listen to, they haven't produced a consistent enough album for me to put it along side their early work at all, which is really disappointing. Being the last time that Richey's work will appear in the band, I had hoped for a really fond, strong goodbye. I wanted an album that had the power behind it that their early works did, only slightly wizened by experience. I wanted to hear something that I thought Richey Edwards had helped produce, that he had been pivotal in, something which bore resemblances to what the band used to be. I was disappointed.

      Sure, they did, in places a great job. There are some tracks on the album which have been stuck in my head for days, some which I listen to over and over again. But they are spaced with songs which just fill, just use up Richey's lyrics for the sake of creating an album. It's like being handed gold and coating it with bronze. Why do it?
      I understand their ambitions, to finally use Richey's last pieces, to put him to rest, to, in a way, have a final goodbye, and everlasting tribute. But if I was Richey, I would rather be remembered for my contributions to "The Holy Bible" and "Generation Terrorists" than this, it just isn't fitting enough for such a talented lyricist.
      You can get the album for £8.99 from HMV, or for £15.99 you can get the 2 Disk Special Edition, which contains demos for the songs too. The demos are good quality, not like really early crap versions, but just before the final touches and last minute changes were made.

      '''Do I recommend it? '''

      I am struggling. I really want to say yes, but I'm battling saying no. It left me with real mixed feelings. I think, I would give it 4 stars. The good tracks on the album are great, and it contains some awesome pieces, and I suppose, the poor tracks aren't shit, just not what I was hoping for.

      '''Have a listen?'''
      Bag Lady - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LipcAZzXGw4
      William's Last Words - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Qepn6PN8Y4
      The Joke Sport Severed -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLupZxHkIdA&feature=related

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        18.07.2009 01:09
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        Those who thought the Manics had lost it with the disappearance of Richey will be proven wrong here.

        When the Manic Street Preachers announced their decision to use the lyrics left behind for them in a 'beautiful, old school Ryman's binder with Bugs Bunny on it' by missing band member Richey Edwards, I, like many other fans, looked forward to this album with some apprehension.

        Since Richey's disappearance in 1995, the Manics output has changed considerably. The job of lyric writing fell solely on bassist Nicky Wire and, while an excellent lyricist in his own right, he, in his own words, 'could not inspire James in the same way that Richey did... could not push him to the same places'. Nicky's very different lyricism understandably had an effect on the music guitarist James Dean Bradfield produced for the band. Their sound became a lot bigger, more experimental, and less 'claustrophobic' compared to earlier albums such as 1994's 'The Holy Bible'.

        The question raised most when news of this new, Richey-lyric based album, was announced was 'can they still do it?'. Could James, having been out of that musical space for so long, once again write music to accompany the reference-laden, often confusing, often intricate lyrics of Richey Edwards?

        Any doubts about James' musical abilities (or, indeed, that of Nicky Wire and Sean Moore) are quickly put to rest with opening track 'Peeled Apples'. With a strong, memorable bass-line reminiscent of 'Archives of Pain' (Holy Bible, 1994) and the return or largely incoherent, aggressive vocals from James is an instant throwback to those early years of passion and deep-seated anger that made the Manics what they were.

        Not one to let his singing talents go to waste, follow on track 'Jackie Collins Existential Question Time' takes a far less urgent approach and finds softer vocals. The song is short, however, and ends with a brief explosion of guitars and shouted lyrics.

        'Me and Stephen Hawking' bursts into life with an immediately memorable riff. Not overly long lyrically, the vocals are repeated twice. 'Today it's a cow, tomorrow it's you!' screams out from the speakers before heading into a softer, more melodic chorus. Then that riff hits you again. And yes, it is going to be stuck in your brain all week. This song contains arguably the best line of the album 'We missed the sex revolution when we failed the physical'. Classic.

        The acoustic guitar makes its first appearance of the album for tear-jerker 'This Joke Sport Severed'. Softly strummed, and softly sung, this is a song to make you pause for reflection. 'This joke sport severed, I endeavoured to find a place where I became untethered' - melodic and powerful, this song will have you gripped from the start. Halfway through an electric guitar replaces the acoustic and is joined by a string quartet. While giving the song energy and pace, it doesn't overpower the soft sentiment expressed here. One of my favourites on the album.

        This pause for reflection gives way once again to electric guitars and a strong drum beat for title track 'Journal for Plague Lovers'. While still melodic, James has turned up the aggression a bit and isn't ashamed to use that guitar riff at every possible opportunity. An instantly catchy chorus and steady, worthy-of-a-good-pogo rhythm make this a favourite.

        'She Bathed Herself in a Bath of Bleach' cuts in with rhythmic, disjointed vocals not dissimilar to the style of 'Faster'. However, the music lets the vocals down slightly here, with not much variation in the song. Good, but not their best. There is, however, a guitar solo to be found. Just in case you thought James had forgotten how to do those.

        Once again, the electric noise-assault gives way to a beautiful acoustic guitar. 'Facing Page: Top Left' is to Journal For Plague Lovers what 'This is Yesterday' was to the Holy Bible. This song is entirely acoustic, no switching of guitars halfway through here. A beautiful, intricate guitar line and saddening lyrics make this another tear-jerker.

        To lighten the mood a bit, 'Marlon J.D.' has a dancy, electro clubbing feel to it. This song is one of two on the album that bassist Nicky Wire wrote the music for. It's sure to get you dancing around the bedroom, and the chorus is a genuine ear-worm.

        'Doors Closing Slowly' is a slow one. With a tinkly piano intro followed by soft lyrics and a gentle, plodding drum line. Serious Manicsfans might notice snippets of lyrics from 'Picturesque' in here. a lot more serious in tone than the previous 'Marlon J.D.' this song continues the emotional up-down rollercoaster exhibited throughout the whole album. A beautiful instrumental section finishes this song, and gives James a chance to dance about on stage for a bit.

        This, naturally, must lead into an aggressive song. And aggression is something 'All is Vanity' has by the bucketload. It takes a few bars to get going, but when it does you're hit by gritty guitars and angry vocals. 'It's not what's wrong, it's what's right! It's the facts of life, sunshine' James spits with pure venom in the chorus. Absolutely brilliant.

        'Pretension / Repulsion' is, quite literally, a list of words. Stricken'd. Howl'd. Streak'd. Spurn'd. Pluck'd. Live'd. Compell'd. Call'd. Somehow James manages to fit the entire English Dictionary into one verse before launching into a catchy, aggressive chorus ending on the highly-quotable line 'Born.a.graphic. vs. porn.a.graphic'. If you can ever manage to remember all the words, this song is fantastic.

        The next song is possibly the biggest let-down of the album. The melody for 'Virginia State Epileptic Colony' sounds like it was the first thing that came to mind when James read the lyrics, and the music here does little to improve the song. It is saved, kind of, by yet another stupidly catchy chorus. Probably a 'skipper' later on.

        Album closer 'William's Last Words' is a heartbreaking ballad written and sung by Nicky Wire. For those that are fans of Mr. Wire's singing this is a real treat. For those that aren't - you'll be glad to hear that his singing has improved since last time. At 4:15, this song is nearly a fully minute longer than anything else on the album and sees Nicky strumming an acoustic guitar along to lyrics such as 'wish me some luck as you wave goodbye to me, you're the best friends I ever had'. The string quartet makes a re-appearance here, and if this song doesn't stir something in you emotionally well, you probably don't have a soul.

        Have the Manics still got it? Yes. Yes they fucking have.

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          13.07.2009 04:31
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          not as good as some better than others

          MANIC STREET PREACHERS
          --------- -------- ----------------

          Journal for plague lovers.


          So The Manics for years were one of the top rock/pop groups to come from the UK, first three albums all offered something to show the rest of the world that we could still do rock music as well, with the beautifully tuneful "motorcycle emptiness" you could already see the class in this band.

          Over the years they changed styles many times, though their earlier input tended to be poppy punk based with a lot of melancholic lyrics which is right up my street!!

          This was mainly due to chief songwriter Ritchey Edwards, well sadly come 1995 Ritchey disappeared, car left on a notorious suicide spot nothing heard of him since.

          And simply since that day the manics have only really produced 1 semi decent album, well this year that changed...

          THE ALBUM

          The rest of the Manics realising they weren't as good without Ritchey's Lyrics decided to do what any other decent person would do, use his old leftover lyrics in a money grabbing grave robbing way, though I honestly believe they did this for the right reasons lol!!

          So here we have an album where all lyrics were written by master of misery and greatness Ritchey Manic!!

          Could the rest of the Manics mess this up by sticking to the middle of the road boring rock they have produced over the last few years?

          Well we shall at last answer that question but you will have to wait till the end to find out, or ignore me talking about songs and stuff?!?


          The First thing that hits me with the first song is the use of a spoken word intro, used a lot in the Manics supposed best album " the Holy bible"
          Then we very soon have bruising guitars and vocals that sound like they want to rip your throat out?!?

          Yet the tunes are beautiful, the chorus kicks in with perfection can imagine a few thousand people jumping around singing the complete wrong words yet loving every minute!
          The guitars are ripping the drums give a good base to the tune works really well first Manics song ive liked since the "everything must go" album

          This is soon followed by another song, just as well else it would only be a poor single and a very short review.

          This takes us down a much more poppy route, with a bouncy cute tone, though it soon makes way for some proper welsh shouting for the chorus, a truly great track, where has this new found energy come from?


          Starting as a typical punky rocking track the third track soon becomes a sort of verse chorus verse song with slow verses and fast chorus, nice but a bit overdone in the last 15 years so its slightly fillerish, good tune but ive heard better.

          We follow with what the Manics are good at ballads, though this time I feel it just isn't strong enough, it doesn't get under my skin and start tearing me up to use as a new second skin like a lot of the older stuff did.

          The title track soon kicks in with a sort of middle of the road rock/pop/punk feel not quite hitting the heights of any of its genres but still being a playable rocking tune with an instantly catchy chorus.

          Talking of catchy choruses we very soon meet another with the shouty chorus of "She bathed herself in a bath of bleach" lovely title!!
          Musically a little rocky not too tuneful but the shouty chorus saves it.



          "Facing page: top left" the next song in the list starts with James singing over a beautiful piano guitar mix, slow balanced almost perfect for its style, this is where James really hits his form and shows how good his lungs and vocal chords are with a nice ballad only problem its a bit too short, then we are straight into another rockier number....

          Which unfortunately sounds very eighties, and a bit poor, in fact not very good in fact im already skipping it sorry...

          "doors closing slowly" follows which is back in ballad land and just as well cos its the Manics back in good form, nothing special but better than over the last few years.


          We soon Kick into the next song that really feels like it should be on the holy bible, this is really in the wrong place its got almost every thing great vocals a good guitar base drums which really sit well, the manics loosing years and sounding good for it.

          And then again they do it for another song, the manics sounding like they did in 1994 and producing quality music, two tracks in a row should say something, this is them doing what they are good at, catchy tunes melancholic lyrics weird voice overs everything you want from them.
          Almost as catchy as pork flu, though nowhere near beef flu yet!


          Two more songs one good other not so, first one has a great balance with some nice singing good tunes although it also features some of the worst co vocals ive heard in a long time.

          The second is just plain bad which is a shame cos its Ritcheys last words basically, but they are sung by the wrong member of the manics. Who makes it all sound like some karaoke with a rubbish singer, whose head is stuck in a vice , with a ten tonne gallon of oil over his head whilst suffering burns to his lower gentlemen's bits.


          OVERALL


          Ohh what did I feel about this album, ive probably left you with no idea reviewing the tracks so ill try my best to tell ya!

          The holy bible is one of my all time favourite albums I love the whole thing, this is its younger cousin nice in parts and certainly has a resemblance but never quite reaches the heights.
          Still a lot better than other albums that came in-between, if you liked holy bible id give it a go, if you like pink then id commit suicide then not bother choice is yours.

          Fanks for readin, ive been Kyle Core wish you all well.

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        • More +
          12.06.2009 14:04
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          Better than we could have hoped for!

          The Manic Street Preachers' previous album 'Send Away The Tigers' saw them recapture their glory days with a series of anthemic stadium-rock classics. And while no one could begrudge them more chart success, there was always a feeling of unfinished business hanging over the band, in the shape of missing lyricist Richey Edwards.

          Richey was officially declared dead last year, and this has perhaps allowed the band to revisit his left-behind lyrics and actually do something with them. It may seem a bit morbid, but there genuinely isn't the sense on this album that they are trying to cash in on the cult of Richey - in fact, it's more of a tribute to him.

          A quick glance at the track names ('Jackie Collins Existential Question Time', 'She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach') proves that we're no longer in Top Forty territory. However, this album isn't a sequel to their darkest and most brutal album of yore, 'The Holy Bible'. If anything, it is Richey's lyrics themselves that have dictated this difference in tone - less angry, more contemplative. There are even a couple of jokes thrown in for good measure!

          Musically, there's more variation than on 'The Holy Bible', from the grungey 'Peeled Apples' to the wistful 'This Joke Sport Severed', from the electronic pulse of 'Marlon J.D.' to the soft album closer of 'William's Last Words' (sung by Nicky Wire). I'm not sure how much exactly producer Steve Albini has brought to the table, but James Dean Bradfield has yet again risen to the challenge of finding appropriate music to reflect Richey's uncompromising lyrics.

          My favourite song is 'Pretension/Repulsion' - a string of clipped adjectives followed by an explosive chorus of "Born a graphic vs. pornographic" delivered in James' best scream.

          This review is of the special edition which comes in a book format full of Richey's artwork and lyrics. It's interesting to see the editing process that the lyrics have gone through - most have been untouched but some, such as 'William's Last Words', show that Nicky has taken out some lines that feel particularly raw to Richey's mental state. The one problem with the special lady is that it lacks the secret bonus track ('Bag Lady') that's on the regular edition - crazy!

          All in all, for an album that could have gone horribly wrong, 'Journal For Plague Lovers' is ultimately a triumph. It just leaves one questions - where do the Manics go after this? I'd personally like them to call it a day, but Nicky's spoken of a new pop album (they've been listening to Queen and ABBA). Let's hope they don't ruin their legacy once again!

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        • Product Details

          Disc #1 Tracklisting
          1 Peeled Apples
          2 Jackie Collins Existential Question Time
          3 Me And Stephen Hawking
          4 This Joke Sport Severed
          5 Journal For Plague Lovers
          6 She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach
          7 Facing Page: Top Left
          8 Marlon J.D.
          9 Doors Closing Slowly
          10 All Is Vanity
          11 Pretension/Repulsion
          12 Virginia State Epileptic Colony
          13 William's Last Words

          Disc #2 Tracklisting
          1 Peeled Apples (original demo)
          2 Jackie Collins Existential Question Time (original demo)
          3 Me And Stephen Hawking (original demo)
          4 This Joke Sport Severed (original demo)
          5 Journal For Plague Lovers (original demo)
          6 She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach (original demo)
          7 Facing Page: Top Left (original demo)
          8 Marlon J.D. (original demo)
          9 Doors Closing Slowly (original demo)
          10 All Is Vanity (original demo)
          11 Pretension/Repulsion (original demo)
          12 Virginia State Epileptic Colony (original demo)
          13 William's Last Words (original demo)