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"Nixon Lives In All Of Us" - GAFFA, 1st November 2004

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Title: "Nixon Lives In All Of Us"
Publication: GAFFA
Date: Monday 1st November 2004
Writer: Jeppe Krogsgaard Christensen

All anger, all pain, all bitterness. On one album. And no one follows. Only this single manifesto of the injustice of the world. That was what four young walks with the taste of punk ideology proclaimed before they went to study to record 18 songs under the title "Generation Terrorists".

However, the harsh rocking and politically frustrated entity, called Manic Street Preachers, would quickly withdraw the statement. For the year after, in 1993, the globe could listen to the album "Gold Against The Soul" from the same edge - and since then, it has become a whole five study releases with current Lifeblood as the latest.

"It is true that we have opposed our original idea," explains vocalist and guitarist James Dean Bradfield with a discreet smile about the mouth as GAFFA confrontes him with the statements of the past. But our legitimization - or excuse if you want - over the years has been that we make a whole new record every time we go to the studio. So nothing about repeating ourselves to unconsciousness.

And the band's bassist and songwriter Nicky Wire believe that music journalists and rock archaeologists should be a little overbearing to the categorical starting point. "We were very young and angry at the time, and let us tear off our feelings. We hated everything and would not be a part of anything, not the music industry. But we became wiser, though we constantly punished either-or-attitude to many things.

As the two men are sitting in Hotel D'Angleterre's soft sofas in Copenhagen's inner city, it is now quite difficult to spot any significant punkattitude. They are more like a couple of sensitive thirtysomethings, and the 12 new songs do not blow neither wild nor angry.

"With 'Lifeblood' we have tried to create more accessible sound, explains Wire. That's why we called the super producer Tony Visconti, who has previously created a fantastic pop-up for, among other things, David Bowie. And he gave us what we dreamed of - even though he was very expensive."

But Wire is well aware that the expensive happiness will not please everyone.

"I know so well that somebody will think," Lifeblood "is a boring album that offers nothing but blank pop music. But I'm honestly frightened. I love pop and it can be heard on the new songs - and now I'm jumping out of the closet, I can as well admit that I love Dido's latest album!

Wire laughs loudly and yell in the day-old beard stump. But Bradfield explains that the new album is also the result of an agreement the band made in the studio.

"We agreed not to take into account anyone or anything. We wanted "Lifeblood" to become an album that was based solely on our own wishes - and when we started playing in this free spirit, it was a kind of pop music flowing from the instruments."

However, it is not just on the audio side, Manic Street Preachers has changed character. Textually, there are also changes to track. Gone are the words of peace about institutions and politicians, and in their place stands a different nuanced understanding of reality. "The Love Of Richard Nixon", the first single of the album, draws a very detailed picture of one of the most hated leaders of this century.

"President Nixon is only known to have lied to his country, explains Wire. But he was much more than that and it tells us our song. For example, he did a great deal of cancer research in the United States, like he also did infinitely good for China. But today he is only remembered as evil and corrupt."

Wire concludes that the text of "The Love Of Richard Nixon" is a very accurate picture of how Manic Street Preachers regard the world, here 12 years after the debut.

"We do not see reality through a black and white lens, as in the years around Generation Terrorists. Age and experience have taught us that humans are both good and evil. The world is gray. Nobody is over this fact. President Nixon is a telling picture of this acknowledgment that we have reached, and as 'lifeblood' is rounded off. Nixon lives in all of us. Not true?"