Manic Street Preachers
Resistance Is Futile


3.0
good

Review

by Jordan M. STAFF
April 15th, 2018 | 44 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The blank page awaits.

If you’ve listened to the Manic Street Preachers for as long as I have, the first thing you will notice about Resistance is Futile is that it’s so unnervingly content with itself, in a way that the Manic’s rarely ever have been. Even its title, a seeming rejection of their kicking against the pricks motif that basically was their reason to exist all these years, sounds like a band completely and totally defeated by years and years of narratives and expectations; the makeup, the slogans, the military regalia, the hits, and the synths. Its opening track, “People Give In,” sings it simply enough: ‘People get tired, people get old, people get forgotten, people get sold ... people stay strong, people give in.’ Where there was once the object of hatred and loathing now stands a humanist, sympathetic subject, completely free of outside judgement, not least of all from Nicky Wire.

It’s taken him, The Manic’s chief lyricist, a while to get to this point. Even when it came to promoting 2014’s understated and brilliant Futurology, he was speaking in broad, grande overstatements, pontificating on art, literature, and technology with a sense of importance far greater than their commercial fortunes might otherwise indicate. Even when it came to some of the band’s lesser efforts, like the truly derivative and forgettable Postcards from a Young Man, there were vague words about ‘shot[s] at mass communication’ that feel admirably silly, given the band’s beleaguered past. The one seeming constant of Wire's lyricism since Richey Edwards’ disappearance has been his ambitious overreach, often verbalised through plain, accessible language in an attempt to turn heads towards the band. He seems to have finally arrived though at a point where all of it-- the politics of it all, mostly-- just aren’t worth his own time. With that comes a style of writing that feels wiser, more relaxed, and suited to what the Manic Street Preachers are: a rock band of 26 years.

“People Give In” is the most obvious expression of that desire to feel rested, and the album itself-- titled Resistance is Futile, naturally-- never rises too far above the fray. Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn get no mention, nor does Theresa May, Angela Merkel, Mark Zuckerberg, or Kanye West (or Warhol, or Burroughs, or Rimbaud, etc.). Wire is still harsh and incisive as ever when it comes to putting pen to paper, as only a song like “Sequels to Forgotten Wars” could be, but his words sound less forced in pursuit of an overarching theme or idea. In past, this grandeur and overzealousness had the tendency to ruin songs, and particularly on Postcards from a Young Man, when the conceit was that Wire wasn’t going to write to the usual brief, he seemed to simply wrote banalities for its own sake. Nowadays his words sound utterly and completely rid of the spectre; when James Dean Bradfield verbalises those islands in the stream and walking the line, it sounds like finally, just for this one time, he’s got nothing to prove when he says it. It’s nice.

In a lot of ways, that contentedness makes Resistance is Futile stand out as the most natural sounding Manic Street Preachers albums in years. Musically, it lands exactly in the space expected of a late career album from the band; a touch slighter than Send Away the Tigers, less forgettable than Postcards, less memorable than Futurology. James Dean Bradfield, for all his years of shouting and guitar theatrics, seems tamed only in the most modest of ways, with his admiration for Slash shining through occasionally (“Broken Algorithms,” “In Eternity”), but mostly reserved in favour of digestible and tasteful rhythms. Sean Moore, always underrated, chooses to remain reserved, whilst Wire, ever the studious type, chooses only to lock into the grooves. These are songs that soar, but not in the way that “Motorcycle Emptiness” soars; think “A Design for Life,” or “Your Love Alone is Not Enough,” except wholly and completely grounded in ambition.

It's a genuine relief it to hear the Manic’s sound so comfortable for once. Far be it from me to diagnose a complex in this band, but resentment seemed to follow their every career move some point after “If You Tolerate this Your Children Will Be Next” hit number one in the UK and America yawned in response. Their press progressively shifted towards wishful thinking so fast that it’s difficult to assess in retrospect what the tipping point was. Resistance is Futile’s embrace of futility suggests that as of now, it's all unimportant, or at least at a little vain to think about. Of course it’s not great, in the sense that Generation Terrorists or The Holy Bible are great, but its embrace of melodiousness, simplicity, and tastefulness betrays the bands’ modest commercial fortunes. Without qualification, the Manic Street Preachers are the greatest rock band of our lifetimes, because no band can still produce music so agreeable and pleasant this deep into their careers. With Resistance is Futile, they’ve finally caught up with their own reality and decided to produce the one album they never made; a serviceable rock album.



Recent reviews by this author
Pusha T DAYTONAPost Malone beerbongs and bentleys
J. Cole K.O.D.Young Thug Hear No Evil
The Weeknd My Dear Melancholy,XXXTENTACION ?
user ratings (50)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
genocidefish (4)
Another excellent album from the Welsh veterans, who continue to write intelligent and anthemic song...



Comments:Add a Comment 
heavenbydjsammy
April 15th 2018


47 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

my favourite band of all-time, I have no problem with them pedalling back on the ambition and 'lofty statements' but....there's no need for them to be this..........dull. truly only at most three tracks are in any way memorable (and only one of them is a single)



they can do serviceable rock albums fine (Send Away The Tigers) but this is just so incredibly boring and lacking in spirit in a way they've never been

CaimanJesus
April 15th 2018


3707 Comments


TVC 5 when

onionbubs
April 15th 2018


8832 Comments


[2]

Digging: Say Anything - In Defense of the Genre

TVC15
April 15th 2018


9635 Comments


[3]

Digging: Dance With the Dead - B-Sides: Vol. 1

TVC15
April 15th 2018


9635 Comments


Also Arcade, a lot of your “it’s” should be “its” for possessiveness

A great review and now I’m much more wary coming in, oof

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2018


40428 Comments


Without qualification, the Manic Street Preachers are the greatest rock band of our lifetimes, because no band can still produce music so agreeable and pleasant this deep into their careers.


my d u d e what

they've been releasing the same album for 10 years and I'm sure this album will be the same album again

Digging: Charli XCX - Focus/No angel

Arcade
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2018


67 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

let me have my one moment of completely hyperbolic nonsense

Digging: 03 Greedo - God Level

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2018


40428 Comments


in fairness there's not really a whole lot of competition seeing as rock is well and truly dead

if these lads had not released anything post-Richey except for Journal for Plague Lovers and maybe Futurology I'd give em the title, but as it is? prolly QOTSA

TVC15
April 16th 2018


9635 Comments


Dunno the only real post-Richey duds imo are Postcards and Rewind the Film. Even the lowlights like Lifeblood and Send Away the Tigers have some career highlights

zakalwe
April 16th 2018


25378 Comments


‘Rock is well and truly dead’

Row speaking truth.

DatsNotDaMetulz
April 16th 2018


3599 Comments


TBH that anger and resentment may not be necessarily due to the lack of success in America during the 90s, but may have also stemmed from Richey's disappearance. The unease in continuing, and how quickly people forgot about Richey, may have contributed to it.

zakalwe
April 16th 2018


25378 Comments


Anger born through.

Confusion
Boredom
Misplacement
Displacement
Disconnection
Stifled
Stymied
Frustration
Lack of understanding
Not being heard
Irrelevance
The corporate sheen
Depression
Hopelessness
Old order
Being unable to question
Crushed
Apathy
Energy
Surpression
Fake, plastic, sterile control.


These are the things that make us real and want to kick back.
Success? In the states??? lol. No wonder rock is dead. The youth are ‘comfortable’



Demon of the Fall
April 16th 2018


6881 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

'if these lads had not released anything post-Richey except for Journal for Plague Lovers and maybe Futurology'



Ok, so if I only enjoy The Holy Bible, Generation Terrorists & Journal for Plague Lovers (plus some of GATS) there's hope for me liking Futurology?

Digging: Fall of Efrafa - Inle

DatsNotDaMetulz
April 16th 2018


3599 Comments


I kind of want to do a more gothic metal oriented cover of If You Tolerate This... actually. Somewhere along the lines of late 90s Paradise Lost, or Type O Negative.

Demon of the Fall
April 16th 2018


6881 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'm confident you could make it better, the song sucks.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2018


40428 Comments


Ok, so if I only enjoy The Holy Bible, Generation Terrorists & Journal for Plague Lovers (plus some of GATS) there's hope for me liking Futurology?


yeah.. maybe. it's not miles away from the style of Journal, just made even poppier and of course less twisted and distinct in the lyrical department. it's definitely a pop album but one with a bit of bite to it

Crawl
April 16th 2018


2508 Comments


I like all the Manics albums to some extent, but I never got the hype around Futurology.

Demon of the Fall
April 16th 2018


6881 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'll spin this & Futurology at some point, my curiosity has been piqued... what's the worst that can happen?

Ikarus14
April 16th 2018


1154 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This record badly needs upvotes, and quick!

Demon of the Fall
April 17th 2018


6881 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

'It's a genuine relief it to hear the Manic’s sound so comfortable for once'



And therein lies the problem, not looking good for this one thus far



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy