Manic Street Preachers
Everything Must Go


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jordan M. STAFF
March 7th, 2014 | 29 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Under Neon Loneliness, CHAPTER 4: “It’s So Fucking Funny, It’s Obscene…”

PART TWO: Gold Destroys the Soul

The Holy Bible marked a point for the Manic Street Preachers in their career where they were finally succeeding both critically and commercially. While they still slipped down the charts fast to the outer reaches of the Top 40, the band were building a substantial following that was backed by the band moving away from hyper-polished glam metal to post-punk menace. As The Holy Bible was beginning to show promise in the US market of being marketed to the college radio scene, Richey Edwards went on to give damning press of bands who refused to “rub the human race’s face in its own vomit…” and promised a floow-up motivated and influences by “…Pantera, Nine Inch Nails and Primal Scream’s Screamadelica…”

Sadly, as is all too well known, on February 1995, the eve of the Manic’s first US tour for the promotional track “Judge Yr’Self”, Richey Edwards left his Cardiff apartment and was never seen from again. While hints at the time suggested he may have fled to India or other remote parts of the UK, as of 2008 Welsh Police classified him as deceased (he is now a member of the infamous “27” Club, of which he shares membership with idol Kurt Cobain). At the time, there was little in the way of light on the horizon. With magazines all too cynical about preconceived notions of what their 4th LP was to sound like, the blessing of the Edwards family was not enough for the band to continue on. Realistically, the face of the Manic’s was Richey, and continuing on without him would be a difficult proposition. Eschewing expectations, the band set to work on purging their systems of everything that came before and cleaning the slate for what would come next. Nobody expected this.

Finally released in 1996 to critical acclaim, Everything Must Go was a sprightful and elegiac album that turned everything The Holy Bible stood for on its head. No longer charged by Richey Edwards was the vicious rhetoric, now fueled by depression and longing afforded by Nicky Wire penning the vast majority of words- the murky, flat and dead mixing job made to make the menace of Bradfield more prominent is instead exchanged for a bright and uplifting mix that emphasizes big choruses that with clean vocal hooks and foot firmly on the distortion pedal. If you were under the impression the Manic’s were misanthropic, you were wrong; they just hated you.

It’s difficult to pin point any moments of transitional weakness amongst the 12 tracks here and rightfully so. With signature anthem “A Design for Life”, the band willfully performed an ode to the Working Class by spoofing complacency that comes with getting full-time work and supporting your family- none the less opened with the now iconic stanza “Libraries gave us power/then work came and made us free”. Dominated by a string and orchestral section, the likes of “A Design for Life” are powered to become full sounding anthems, with the same being said of the off-kilter rhythm of the title track and the despair-ridden “Kevin Carter” (with lyrical excerpts from Richey Edwards), a harsh critical assessment of a man who sunk into a loophole of ethics that eventually forced him towards suicide.

Even when Wire becomes comically non-succinct with his writing, the troupe of Moore/Bradfield are always there to support with a melodically inclined backing. Tracks such as “Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier”(again with lyrical work by Edwards) and “The Girl Who Wanted to Be God” may boast some rather frilly lyrics but backed by Bradfield’s immense sounds are turned into power pop epics. The best example of their newly simplistic writing style remains the anthemic by nature style of “Australia”, which juxtaposed to wistful melodies and a bouncing guitar riff leaves the songs nature often undiscovered- naturally, the Australian Tourism Board used the track without realizing it was a cry for help from Nicky Wire wishing he could get as far away from his troubles as humanly possible, by taking copious amounts of pills and flying to Australia.

Arguably, the centerpiece remains the acoustic “Small Black Flowers That Grow in the Sky”, a frightfully simple song that sees only contribution from Bradfield/Edwards. As much a final word from Edwards as it is, the song turns typical sixth-form poetry into poignant beauty, as Edwards goes all Morrissey arguing for animal’s rights and the abolishment of Zoos. The stripped away nature with flourishes of strings lends itself nicely to a Bruce Springsteen Nebraska emotive take- if there were ever a better way to present the lyrics, the band never came across it.

As the final album for some time to feature Edwards lyrics and the last one to appeal to the bands core fanbase, 1998 saw the Manic’s take further leaps into the mainstream. Alienating many fans and cutting all ties with their glam punk origins, the band were finally accepted into the intelligentsia of British Music- but at what cost" Whether it be seen as the final album by the first phase of the Manic’s or the beginning of their second one derided by the hardcore, Everything Must Go was without a question the bands last moment of fleeting glory before years of identity crisis and musical confusion.

NEXT: “Sweet Cherry Blossom Tree, At Least You Are Free...”



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Comments:Add a Comment 
SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2014


4508 Comments


Really good review. POS'd.

This is embarrassing to admit, but I don't think I've ever listened to these guys. I know of them and the mystery of Richey's "disappearance," but like I said I never got into the band. Should I start with The Holy Bible? I've heard so much praise for that album, but I've never got around to listening to it. or do you think there is a better introduction to them?

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2014


42371 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The Holy Bible is truly amazing, SgtPepper

They have a lot of great albums but the Holy Bible is their only thing close to a classic

So yeah, start there

Digging: Strange Ranger - Remembering the Rockets

HolidayKirk
March 7th 2014


1722 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent review for an overall rock solid alt album.

Dunwich
March 7th 2014


582 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Classic and a triumph.

menawati
March 7th 2014


16587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

kevin carter rocks

TheWrenKing
March 16th 2015


1696 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No Surface All Feeling is where it's at.

zakalwe
June 26th 2016


28279 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I prefer this as a listen

DoofusWainwright
June 26th 2016


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

the sound of early onset middle age



actually I'd probably love this album now, might need to revisit



still a million times better than 'This is My Truth...'

TVC15
September 24th 2017


10168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The production job on this is extremely uneven. I'd like No Surface All Feeling way more, for instance, if the mixing was better; still a great song but the singles seem to be the ones that have escaped this sound problem and that's only cos of future remasters.

claygurnz
November 23rd 2017


5414 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Prefer this to the Holy Bible tbh call me crazy

Crawl
November 23rd 2017


2584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I mean they're pretty different, so it's not crazy at all.

Demon of the Fall
November 23rd 2017


11908 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I disagree, that’s nuts!

Digging: Fever Ray - Live At Troxy

TVC15
November 23rd 2017


10168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love both albums but yeah that's nuts lol

Papa Universe
November 23rd 2017


22377 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Prefer this to the Holy Bible tbh call me crazy"



[2]



Let's be crazy together.

TVC15
November 23rd 2017


10168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The elephant is so ugly

TVC15
April 16th 2018


10168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh shit the avg went up m/

Papa Universe
April 16th 2018


22377 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Praise be.

Demon of the Fall
April 16th 2018


11908 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Damn, just realised you could essentially copy/paste Doof's comment to sum up my thoughts on this. Not sure how I feel about that.

PatternsInTheIvy
October 12th 2018


192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think a lot of people overstate how different this is from Holy Bible. It's different sure, but a lot of the same core aspects - such as the melancholic alternative rock/post-punk (albeit less post-punk) elements and dark lyrics (many of them courtesy of Richey) - still remain. It's just that there's not nearly as much anger in the tone or overall delivery. I guess what I don't understand is why this is called MOR music. When I think MOR, I think shit like Imagine Dragons or Train. This is more along the lines of early Blur or Oasis, anthemic alternative rock with hard rock and britpop touches

Demon of the Fall
October 12th 2018


11908 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

'many of them courtesy of Richey'

I think only a handful of tracks here include Richey's lyrics.

'This is more along the lines of early Blur or Oasis, anthemic alternative rock with hard rock and britpop touches'

That's definitely not a good thing.

'I guess what I don't understand is why this is called MOR music. When I think MOR, I think shit like Imagine Dragons or Train.'

I have no idea what MOR means but this record is a significant departure from The Holy Bible, the presentation is more commercial & it represents the start of their 'stadium rock anthem' era. A lot of the experimental flourishes are gone, the lyrics aren't as dark (although not entirely optimistic as you have touched upon) & it sounds very much like a product of its time rather than anything potentially pioneering.



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