Review Summary: Under Neon Loneliness, CHAPTER 5: “Sweet Cherry Blossom Tree, At Least You Are Free…”
By 1998, it was no surprise that the Manic’s were making continuous strides into noticeably different musical genres. By now, the glam punk gesturing the band had built themselves on had all but disappeared with a rather smart working-class look now being the preferred presentation for the band. Predictably, as they moved further away from the memory of Richey Edwards, so too did they the myth and majesty of youth they once pioneered. As maturity became an ever growing concern for an aging band, This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours
was in a way a continuation of what was formulated on Everything Must Go
, with the band no longer fuelled by electric guitar and fierce political lyricism. However gone now was the excitement, which while in parts was made up for in clever songwriting, became much too difficult to forgive in spots.
Initial signs of punk treason are evident on opener “The Everlasting”, a quaint and mechanical opener that drifts along rather than explodes like the generic Manic’s opener has been known for. While lacking in energy, it remains a rather simple and beautiful song that was never quite achieved before in the Manic’s career, further continued on much of the albums other brilliantly down-tempo numbers. The anti-fascist rhetoric of “If You Tolerate this Your Children Will Be Next” coupled with “Tsunami” are perfect constructions of pop songs in the Britpop environment, never compromising lyrical content for melody that still, funnily enough, comes in spades- it’s safe to say that This Is My Truth
is one of the most melodically gifted Manic releases ever.
And then there’s the ‘but’ of it all…
The problem is that, and often recurring across Manic’s releases, is that the band find it difficult to stretch their new found styles across albums, leaving songs that give the distinct feel of filler to them. Tracks such as “Born a Girl” and “Ready for Drowning” provide awkward phrasings and cold environments while the just plain offensive electric drum bounce of “You Stole the Sun from My Heart” is Wire’s ode to hating tours. Unfortunately, it leaves the rather brilliant tracks, of which there are ample, stranded between small sections of boring and disinterested numbers that try to prove Bradfield/Moore don’t need the electric guitar to write a tune.
Rather absent-mindedly, it’s the penultimate “Nobody Loved You” that hits hardest because of its electric guitars sticking out like a sore thumb. A take on the Nirvana/Pixies formula that was ever popular in post-grunge America post-’94, the verses move from quiet and ethereal stanzas to blasts of sonic overdrive and ever ascending vocal lines. Nicky Wire pens lyrics emotionally considered for the fallen Edwards, declaring “Nobody loved you/like me” in a sweet release of repressed emotional torment and alleviation of pressure (since Edwards had disappeared, Wire had been tasked the sole role of lyrical work). As one of the bands best expressions post-Edwards, it seems rather dour that comes in a time when the band tried their hardest to move away from the egotistical nature of the Les Paul and the fury of Bradfield’s lungs; a rather ironic twist of brilliance for the fans and misstep for the band.
This Is My Truth
to this day remains the most indecisive piece of works in the Manic’s canon. Technically proficient and brilliantly written in spats, it still lacks energy and a blatant caress of controversy that powered the earlier releases. A necessary evil by some descriptions of the word, it must be said that were it not for This Is My Truth
it’s unlikely we would have ever heard of the Manic Street Preachers again. Still, This Is My Truth
’s spot as one of the bands weakest releases is often overstated, if only because the rot was just beginning and the future predicted a bigger storm to come.
NEXT: “Brain Dead Mother***ers…”