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  #1  
Old 31-10-2019, 10:43
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15 years of Lifeblood

Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of Lifeblood. It's absolutely my favourite Manics album and it's the last Manics era in which I still truly felt the same youthful obsession that I did in my teens. The last tour where I went to every single London date and traveled to see shows in other cities as well.

My life was changing a huge amount when this album came out and when I listen to it now it's suffused with the feelings of the time, the excitement of new horizons mingled with sadness for what I'd lost. I think it's a truly beautiful record and I really wish they'd explored its sound more in further records. I particularly adore 1985, I Live To Fall Asleep and Glasnost. The latter's lyrics really resonated with me at the time and still do: "When did life get so complicated? When did life start accelerating?"

Much as The Holy Bible resonated with me so strongly as a confused, angsty 19 year old, Lifeblood felt exactly right for me at 29 - the hope mixed with melancholy mixed with resignation mixed with resolution: "we've realised there's no going back". I can't really welcome the darkness of THB into my life any more, but Lifeblood is like an eternal friend.

I love this album so much. Anyone else?
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Old 31-10-2019, 12:06
Elektra Elektra is offline
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15 years of Lifeblood

I love it, too. A shimmering change of direction, yes. But with the underlying immutable 'essence of Manics'.
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Old 31-10-2019, 17:16
IntlDebris IntlDebris is offline
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I was a regular poster on the At Ease Radiohead board at the time, and everyone over there was so excited about it. It was great to be part of a group of people who thought it was an incredibly produced, beautifully written album, when everybody else seemed to have the juvenile "it doesn't rock therefore it's shit" attitude. I still love it, and the 2CD Japanese version - the closest to a deluxe edition we'll ever get, I'm sure - is a prized possession.

One of the reasons I didn't even buy SATT until the deluxe version came out - aside from it being a bit rubbish - is that I felt totally betrayed by them going out and making this daringly electronic record and succeeding, only to smart from the critical reception and low sales and respond with such an early-Manics-by-numbers record. The post-Lifeblood U-turn actually made me hate the band for a long time (it took until Futurology for me to regain my interest).

Favourites:
The Love of Richard Nixon
A Song for Departure
To Repel Ghosts
Always/Never
Solitude Sometimes Is
Everyone Knows/Nobody Cares
Everything Will Be
Dying Breeds
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Old 31-10-2019, 19:07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IntlDebris View Post
I was a regular poster on the At Ease Radiohead board at the time, and everyone over there was so excited about it. It was great to be part of a group of people who thought it was an incredibly produced, beautifully written album, when everybody else seemed to have the juvenile "it doesn't rock therefore it's shit" attitude. I still love it, and the 2CD Japanese version - the closest to a deluxe edition we'll ever get, I'm sure - is a prized possession.

One of the reasons I didn't even buy SATT until the deluxe version came out - aside from it being a bit rubbish - is that I felt totally betrayed by them going out and making this daringly electronic record and succeeding, only to smart from the critical reception and low sales and respond with such an early-Manics-by-numbers record. The post-Lifeblood U-turn actually made me hate the band for a long time (it took until Futurology for me to regain my interest).

Favourites:
The Love of Richard Nixon
A Song for Departure
To Repel Ghosts
Always/Never
Solitude Sometimes Is
Everyone Knows/Nobody Cares
Everything Will Be
Dying Breeds
Yeah those are some really good songs from that era. I would add Voodoo Polaroids, Cardiff Afterlife and Empty Souls as well. I remember hearing Everything Will Be at Glasto 03 - it doesn’t quite sound as good on record but it’s still a good song.

Fifteen years!!

Will listen to it tomorrow. A proper winter album.
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Old 31-10-2019, 19:46
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I got the CD out the other day as it happens. It has the best smelling inlay card ever 😂

What an album. Gorgeous production and some amazing melodies. If this had come out after This Is My Truth, and with a different lead single, I reckon it could have been a smash.
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Old 31-10-2019, 22:22
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Quickly became my 3rd-favourite Manics album, and it remains so. I absolutely love it.

To me, THB, EMG and Lifeblood are the most distinct 'touchstones' of their back catalogue - they are, in my mind, what everything else relates to - if the band is a star, these three albums are the planets, the other works are moons that orbit these three planets at varying distances.

Its somewhat lukewarm overall reputation now is a shame... but it's a beautiful shining jewel of an album that I imagine many who dismiss it have never even listened to properly. And it's very much greater than the sum of its parts. I still think the singles did it no real favours, but I like both of them much more on the album than as separate songs.

I know the band aren't too keen on it themselves but I think it's because it didn't feel 'them' to them, and that is fair enough, and they have a perspective no-one else could. I just wish they'd embraced the challenging of what it feels like to be 'them' more often if it meant work of the quality of Lifeblood.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:10
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Love love love this album. I still think 'A Song for Departure' is one of their very best.
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  #8  
Old 01-11-2019, 07:09
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I find I very rarely get past the first three songs. After those, it kind of feels like a let down.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:21
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It's great to see a lot of love for this album here and on social media! Hopefully the Manics might see that there is a sizable group of fans who wouldn't mind more songs like this, or at least to hear more Lifeblood tracks on upcoming tours. It's been great to hear A Song For Departure and Solitude Sometimes Is on recent tours.

I just remembered the first time I heard Solitude - it was at the Isle of Wight festival in June 2004. There'd been rumours on FD about some titles of songs from the upcoming album, and at the fest when James announced that the next song was called Solitude Sometimes Is, I heard a groan from somewhere near me, saying 'oh god, it's true then!' I'm pretty sure it was someone from FD. I guess the title just didn't sound Manic enough!

Another memory - I skived off work on the day of the first play of Nixon on - I think? - Radio 1. It wasn't just to hear the song, I also had a friend who has very worried about a hospital appointment that day and wanted me to go with her. But it was a nice bonus to be able to hear Nixon for the first time as well. I'm sure I posted about it here on the day, but I doubt the forum archives go back that far!
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:41
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For me, I perceived it as their "great return" to the scene. The post Enemy era really felt like they were done with the Manics.
The album was very welcome and I was excited about it. And when I finally got it, I listened to it A LOT. I kind of expected it would sound the way it does because of God Save the Manics and There By the Grace of God.

It's an album filled with beautiful songs.
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  #11  
Old 01-11-2019, 11:21
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Top 5 for me (although constantly shifting position with subsequent releases since JFPL and Futurology came along).

As above, this came out at a very mixed time of life for me - doors closing, new doors opening in terms of work, love, life and that - and again there are a handful of songs / snatches of lyrics that still bring that all back now 15 years later; Glasnost as above (same lyrics as mentioned, emphasised by the "if we can still fall in love" line)... plus that double hit of Song For Departure and I Live To Fall Asleep...

Never clicked with Nixon as a track - especially as the lead single - but the events of the past few years has had me thinking of it off and on - once the Trump era passes next year (we can't have another 4 years like this, surely?), would there be a band bold enough to attempt a "The Love Of Donald Trump" reappraisal in 30 years' time..?
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  #12  
Old 01-11-2019, 12:36
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It feels like the last time the band attempted to create a sound for their album. I get the impression that the band think that they used overthinker their albums and spend too much smudging around the edges. Every album sense sounds like they crystallised the song by the third take, which is fine when the songs are actually good but highlights the hollowness of some of the weaker songs. PFAYM and RiF has plenty of tracks where one struggles to remember which album they came from.

Even the weaker songs on Lifeblood, sound big and impactful, Cardiff Afterlife being the best example. That's why the album is better than the sum of its parts, because care and attention has been paid to make all songs sound like they belong.
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Old 01-11-2019, 19:56
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Like a lot of fans, I grew to like Lifeblood despite initially hating it. But I’d still remove “I Live To Fall Asleep”, “Emily” and “Glasnost” and replace them with “Litany”, “Everything Will Be” and “All Alone Here”.
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Old 01-11-2019, 21:10
IntlDebris IntlDebris is offline
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So, so many positive responses to this on Instagram (I think 'underrated' is possibly the most common word on there, maybe after 'Solitude') which really makes me happy.
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Old 01-11-2019, 21:15
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I haven’t actually listened to the album from start to finish for years so I may just do that tonight, see how it sits for me now as a complete piece of work.
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