Manic Street Preachers
Forever Delayed


3.5
great

Review

by Iai EMERITUS
January 14th, 2005 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist


Manic Street Preachers - Forever Delayed (Greatest Hits)

Released 2002.
Epic Records.

James Dean Bradfield - Vocals, Guitars
Richey Edwards - Guitars
Sean Moore - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Nicky Wire - Bass

The Manic Street Preachers, should you have not heard of them, are one of the UK's most beloved bands, and have been for quite some while. They exploded onto the scene with the album Generation Terrorists in 1992. At that time, the band consisted of Nicky Wire, James Dean Bradfield, Sean Moore, and a man named Richey Edwards. Richey, despite his, shall we say, limitations (he was a crap guitarist, basically), was an utter firebrand. He became almost a twisted mascot for the band - eloquent, charismatic, and damaged, he remains probably the most fascinating character of 90's music. He wrote page after page of nihilistic fury that would be left to Nicky and James to re-arrange into songs. He claimed the Manic's mission statement was to 'scavenge the remains of pop culture and claim it as their own'.

Richey's fury was offset with great intelligence. He and Nicky went to university together and read book upon book, digesting information on great thinkers from Neitzsche and George Orwell, to Valerie Solanas (radical feminist) and Martin Luther King. For evidence of this, check out [url]http://www.manics.nl[/url], and just look at all the information it contains! As such, the Manics stationed themselves as the most politically motivated band since Public Enemy. Richey embodied this perfectly - however, his nihilistic streak soon turned inwards. While writing the beauifully bleak masterpiece The Holy Bible, Richey's attentions and sympathies turned themselves to protistutes, aneroxics, and such people - the only people he felt were left to identify with. Soon after the Manics released this work, Richey went missing, supposedly into the river Liffey (inspiring Radiohead's How To Disappear Completely). A body was never found, and, as 7 years have passed since then, he is considered legally dead.

In the wake of this, the Manics continued to record, with Nicky Wire as the sole lyricist. Despite the Manics having released more albums without Richey than with him (by a 4-3 ratio, not including compilations), he still looms over their work. Nowhere is this more evident than here, on Forever Delayed, their greatest hits.

A few of my friends, having been hardcore Manic Street Preachers fans since Generation Terrorists was released, joke about the transformation of the Manics in the wake of Richey's death. According to them, robots were sent from the future to replace them and stop their dangerous political agenda. However, Richey, with all his viciously open wounds, proved impossible to replicate. Hence they got rid of him. Juvenile, maybe, but there's a point to this - when Richey died, so many fans argue, so did their fury and their reason for being. Richey always said that the Manics would appear, make their mark, and then implode. Unfortunately, he proved to be a man of his word - we just didn't realise what 'implode' would actually entail.

This gulf between Richey Manics and Post-Richey Manics is somehow made even more obvious by the fact that the tracks are not in chronological order. Bar one track (Masses Against The Classes), it's not hard to tell what tracks feature Richey, and which don't.

As this is a compilation, we'll go track-by-track.

A Design For Life. 5/5
Taken from Everything Must Go.
The Manic's most popular song outside their fan base. My sister usually listens to ABBA and Madonna, and even she loves this song. Epic string arrangements, a great chord progression, and a *HUGE* chorus set a sonic canvas over which James weaves Nicky's tale of the loss of working-class values.

Motorcycle Emptiness. 5/5
Taken from Generation Terrorists.
And the Manic's most loved song amongst non-fans is immediately followed by their most loved song amongst the hardcore. An utter classic, with an excellent riff and 2 great guitar solos, and another massive, if more understated, chorus. Generally accepted, at least on this side of the pond, as one of the greatest songs ever.

If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next. 5/5
Taken from This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours.
A pro-war song about the Spanish Revolution. Released after Richey's death, it none the less contains frgaments of Richey's writings, not least in the line - 'Gravity keeps my head down, or is it maybe shame, at being so young, and being so vain.' It's a stately plea that shot to #1 upon release, and yet displays just how much Richey's disappearance changed the band. No fury, just grace.

La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh). 4/5
Taken from Gold Against The Soul.
Starts off as a fairly average song, (with the exact same bassline as If You Tolerate This....), until the lyrics gradually get nastier and nastier. The title is French for 'The Sadness Endures'; Vincent Van Gogh's last words.

There By The Grace Of God. 2/5
Previously unreleased.
One of two previously unreleased tracks. It just doesn't stand up to past glories. It's nice enough, but totally uneventful, with no message at all, and you just expect more. It does, however, quote Coma White - the only Marilyn Manson I like (actually, love).

You Love Us. 4/5
Taken from Generation Terrorists.
A very early Manics single, bursting with punk fury. It stands in complete contrast to the track before. It's not as classic or timeless as the opening 3 tracks, but it's a well-needed shot in the arm for the album, just as it was for the charts when it was originally released. Great guitar solo - exactly why James Dean Bradfield never makes those Top 100 Guitarist lists is beyond me.

Australia. 4/5
Taken from Everything Must Go.
Currently being used on British TV to advertise holidays to - hey! - Australia. Inspired by the media glare in the wake of Richey's disappearance, it turns the idea of flying as far away as you can and becoming a mute into an absolute anthem.

You Stole The Sun From My Heart. 3/5
Taken from This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours.
Not a Manics classic, despite what chart positions may indicate. The lyrics are very repetitive - although, having said that, there are occassional flashes of just what a genius Nicky can be when he tries. A great example of the beginning of the Manic's creative slide, post-Everything Must Go.

Kevin Carter. 5/5
Taken from Everything Must Go.
A personal favourite. A cool riff (and a trumpet solo!) underlie the tale of the Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, who won after taking a picture of a starving girl in Sudan, about to be attacked by a vulture. He took this picture rather than helping her - and the guilt eventually drove him mad, causing him to committ suicide a year later. Although released after his 'death', Richey wrote the song.

Tsunami. 4/5
Taken from This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours.
A sitar kicks this song off. 'Disco dancing with the rapists - your only crime is silence.' The song is inspired by set of twins who decided at a young age to never speak again. They became recluses by choice, eventually turning to crime in their dementia. They were committed to a psychiatric ward, where one twin (labelled by a teacher as 'the very personification of evil') died. Once this happened, the other twin began to speak and act normally. Fans have often speculated that this song is a metaphore for Richey and Nicky, who were inseperable until they were forcefully seperated, upon which Nicky found his voice alone.

The Masses Against The Classes. 5/5
Stand-alone single.
This song saw the Manics responding to the fans who labelled them sell-outs after Richey went missing. It's a furious punk anthem - maybe the best ever. It was deliberately designed to resemble a Holy Bible track, and it does, despite not being as bleak as that album. The fact that it went to #1 amazes me, quite frankly.

From Despair To Where. 3.5/5
Taken from Gold Against The Soul.
Often singled out as Manics fans as a classic; I, however, don't like it all that much. It's good, just not great. In fairness, it seems better in the context of the worringly Bon Jovi-esque Gold Against the Soul (their second album).

Door To The River. 3.5/5
Previously unreleased.
Another unreleased track, that suffers from exactly the same problems as There By The Grace Of God, but is much better. Named after a painting about death, it elevates itself over There By The Grace....by virtue of the string arrangement, and the general feeling of effort and love having been put into making it. It's still far too removed from what the Manics are best at for comfort, though.

Everything Must Go. 4/5
Taken from Everything Must Go.
Directly addressing the issue of carrying on without Richey, and 'breaking out of an ideal of what MSP should be', according to manics.nl. There's a delicious irony in the line 'And we just hope you can forgive us....' This issue would later be addressed again to great effect on The Masses Against The Classes.

Faster. 5/5
Taken from The Holy Bible.
And here it is - the single contribution from The Holy Bible. Only ONE track from their best album"!" Nay, one of the best albums EVER"!" It beggars belief. Still, it's one of the best from that masterwork - an furious air guitar classic, that always feels better when played wearing a balaclava (hopefully any Manics fans will understand that little joke.) It's all about how hard it is to be a revolutionary or a free thinker when the media constantly tries to beat you down. It sums up everything that was so great - and so tragic - about Richey Edwards.

Little Baby Nothing. 5/5
Taken from Generation Terrorists.
My personal favourite Manics track ever - but they cut off the intro! Criminal. Still, an absolute joy to listen to. A male/female vocal tradeoff featuring porn star Traci Lords presents a heartbreaking tale of female exploitation. The 'moths' are a metaphore for gentle, innocent people crushed by the world (a Tennessee Williams poem). Ends with the great singalong -
'You are pure, you are snow;
We are the useless sluts who bemoan you.
Rock'n'roll is our epiphany,
Culture: alienation, boredom, and despair.'
Suicide Is Painless. 4/5
Taken from Suicide Is Painless EP.
That's right - the theme tune from M*A*S*H. I, to be honest, hate that show with a passion, and so have never heard the original (and if I have, I don't remember it, and don't care to refresh my memory). But it's a great song, either way. It kicks into a higher gear later on.

So Why So Sad. 3.5/5
Taken from Know Your Enemy.
To be fair, it sounds nothing like The Manics, what with barbershop-quartet style backing vocals throughout and echo on Jame's voice. It references Sonic Youth, though, which can only be a good thing. It also references the Dead Sea Scrolls, which I would explain were it not so long-winded!

The Everlasting. 4/5
Taken from This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours.
It's not very popular amongst Manics fans, but I think it's quite good, personally. It's got a great melody, and it's graceful and stately. Like many Manics songs, it's inspired by a poem by Patrick Jones (Nicky Wire's brother). It's not attention-grabbing enough to be truly classic (it lacks that 'special something', shall we say), but it's one of the better post-Richey singles.

Motown Junk. 3/5
Taken from Generation Terrorists.
Starts with a Public Enemy sample (the Manics have sampled Public Enemy several times during their career). This was their first hit single, and you can tell. It sounds like a band hurtling out of the traps and not really thinking about what they're doing. The lyrics are great though - pretty much the embodiment of punk. James sounds like he's doing his best Joe Strummer impersonation, too - cleverly highlighting the legacy they would go on to continue.

It is amazing, throughout, just how much you think of Richey. Even somebody unfamiliar with the Manic's history can sense it. This both detracts from the listening experience, and makes it absolutely fascinating.

Overall I'd say this is a great introduction to the Manics, but it's nowhere near definitive. It's missing songs too many good songs (Slash N Burn especially), and it's far too biased towards This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours.

3.5/5



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user ratings (54)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Bartender
Emeritus
August 12th 2004


826 Comments


The Manic Street Preachers are a band that I've never really liked musically (though to be fair, I haven't yet properly listened to them), but that I like to read about, firstly because of the mystery of Richey's disappearance, and also because I like finding out little stories behind lyrics and themes, and the Manics proved to be a good band for that. Another great review, by the way.

pulseczar
November 8th 2005


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

only one comment for this excellent review :upset:





you're right, too much focus on This is my Truth... but at least they only included one Know Your Enemy track, and it's missing at least one other Bible track (PCP probably)

Med57
Moderator
November 9th 2005


1002 Comments


Yeah, the tracklisting for this is just downright messed up. Obviously The Holy Bible should have more songs on here, but Know Your Enemy is under-represented too.

xstayxbeautifulx
January 26th 2006


1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Most non-Manic fans have actually said that they hate the other albums but the think that this is my truth is a great one, so I'm sure the Manics themselves had good reason to be particularly biased towards that one album. Under little baby nothing, must agree a fantastic song, one of my favourites, you put a poem by Tennessee Williams, when in fact I think you will find it came from A Streetcar Named Desire, one of his plays.

Iai
Emeritus
January 29th 2006


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nope, you're wrong. I studied Streetcar, and it's not from there. It's from a poem entitled 'Lament For The Moths'.



And who likes or doesn't like This Is My Truth....is irrelevant - the fact that it gives that album so many tracks and The Holy Bible (the album that ALWAYS comes out on top in reader-voted magazine polls, incidentally) only one is just plain stupid.

Two-Headed Boy
April 5th 2006


4527 Comments


Excellent album, and it's safe to say that this is a good review, too.

Two-Headed Boy
April 5th 2006


4527 Comments


Ha I have that too. It's okay. The actual album is better.

pulseczar
April 5th 2006


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think I may get this, I've never heard MASH, Motown Junk, or Little Baby Nothing, and I've forgotten what every track sounds like from This is My Truth. My rating is based on the other songs. :dishonest:This Message Edited On 04.05.06

Two-Headed Boy
April 5th 2006


4527 Comments


Galapogos; I deem thee best avatar ever.

EVEREST
May 26th 2006


1 Comments


they are the NUTS, TRULEY A GREAT BRITISH BAND

masada
May 26th 2006


2733 Comments


Aren't they Welsh? Then again that counts as Great Britain.

Isola
June 25th 2006


421 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I actually enjoy There By The Grace Of God... :lol:

KingAngelo
January 10th 2007


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Spot on review.



Apart from the opinion of 'Motown Junk', which has to be one of the best songs the manics have ever released.

Two-Headed Boy
June 19th 2007


4527 Comments


Okay...the David Holmes remix of If You Tolerate This... is one of the best things ever.

Titan50
February 21st 2009


4588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Suicide Is Painless needs a 5/5 rating

TheGutlessWonder
June 27th 2009


14 Comments


I think it's a very good introduction to the band. I love Truth anyway so don't mind the bias!

Tokyochuchu
December 17th 2009


71 Comments


Perhaps 'The Holy Bible' is under-represented because it's too special. Would Richey really be happy at seeing tracks of THB plucked and sold like, uh, things that have mass pop appeal? I've put that ineloquently, but you know what I'm getting at... Punk integrity and all that.

tomwaits4noman
November 18th 2011


91 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

a few points on the the review, as far as I know the song choice was based on chart position of singles the band released other than the unreleased tracks, in relation to The Holy Bible Revol and She is Suffering did not chart too well, I know James was bitterly disappointed with the chart position of Revol as a single. Also Richey abandoned his car on the river Severn which connects Wales and England and did not inspire Radiohead's how to disappear, how to disappear was inspired by Radiohead's biggest concert to date on the Ok Computer tour which was in Dublin and the anxiety Thom Yorke felt about it.



Other than that great review. Its rather a commercial singles friendly intro to the band. A best of with b sides and albums mixed with singles would have been better but still a great collection of songs by a great band

TVC15
April 28th 2017


9840 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of the reasons why I think Greatest Hits aren't unnecessary and all that. Damn near impossible to find any of these guys' albums in record stores and this pretty much contains most of the band's best and essential songs from their respective albums

Digging: Shredder 1984 - Nemesis



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