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Between Euphoria And Gloom - VISIONS, October 1998

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ARTICLES:1998



Title: Between Euphoria And Gloom
Publication: VISIONS
Date: October 1998
Writer: Mario Lasar


Questions about Richey James should not be better placed, said the woman from the record company in the run-up to the interview. For people unfamiliar with the prehistory of this mild censorship, Richey James was guitarist and principal lyricist of the band, and in the early stages of the band biography, it was mainly his destructive lifestyle that defined Manic Street preachers for the media and fans.

In 1991, the fact that, in the course of an NME interview, James scratched the words 'for real' into his forearm to punish the hypocritical allegations of the interviewer - real blood as an argument against the representation of the band as a hollow product of the record company. Since January '95, Richey James has disappeared without a trace, and one must now assume that he is no longer living. Still in October ' 94, he told the NME that he had never thought of suicide. In the summer of the same year, however, rumors circulated that James had been admitted to a hospital after an attempted suicide.

Signs of a gagged life were already on the album "The Holy Bible", which documented the Manic Street Preachers at the height of self-destruction. Textually, the record reflects examples of human destruction and cruelty, and deals specifically with the victims of the Holocaust and self-induced decay, as in the Magersuchts song "4st 7lb". In addition, James was openly discussing his tendency to self-tormented: "Scratch my leg with a rusty nail, sadly it heals" in "The In Summertime". In musical terms, "The Holy Bible" the most brittle and underproduced work of the band.

The guitars give a sleek, cutting sound that picks up all the flourishes to make room for rudimentary truths. The volume itself is also of great importance to the album, although it is not to be forgotten that here the themes of the texts centered on alienation and Richey James's actual state of mind form an intersection. The emotional distance to the record is correspondingly low, and with concerts, up to three exceptions, no songs from "The Holy Bible" are played.

Drummer Sean Moore once said, "When you look at 'The Holy Bible' you know that Richey could not go on after that." In 1996 the Manic Street Preachers returned with "Everything Must Go" a straightened rock album, which focused on the best Pulp-Tradition Class ("A Design For Life"). At the same time, the album passed through a subterfuge, which could easily be attributed to this tragedy. In the final accounts, the album was voted the record of the year by three British magazines.

To this day, "Everything Must Go" is the biggest commercial success of the Manic Street Preachers, and one may ask whether this is not indirectly related to the probable death of Richey James, meaning death to them. Maybe. The role of the superstructure supplier and chief ideologist now fell to Nicky Wire, but the loss of his friend has apparently resulted in a retreat into the private sphere, which makes it difficult for him to be interested in political postulates.

After all, this development was still being addressed in the texts. In the brilliant B-page song "Mr. Carbohydrate" it says: "People tell me I should be out, but the TV is my best friend. I'm in the head. " In "Sepia" there is the brilliant line: "For the first time ever, I do not understand my television".

Nicky Wire said, "Yes, I spend most of my time at home watching TV, and when a thunderstorm comes, my biggest fear is that there's a power outage, and this new record is called" This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours. " it seems to mark a general departure from power chords, the band uses more subtle arrangements, many keyboard sounds and acoustic guitars. Wire: "It has been a deliberate decision not to repeat ourselves: the fifth record is always very important, because you reach a point where you re-define yourself, you see the future, and in such a phase everything takes symbolic meaning, for me it has become a much more beautiful record."

When the Manics came back with "Everything Must Go", they looked like broken men. Suddenly there was something like self-criticism, the youthful arrogance had vanished. In "Mr. Carbohydrate" they challenged themselves, and the new record continues. Wire: "If you knew about us, you might find that we are quite negative people, very pessimistic and melancholic." We questioned ourselves as a band, but we have come to the conclusion,"

"If people are young, they tend to be narcissistic, "James Bradfield notes." But we have already questioned the Holy Bible, which was mainly Richey's influence "Nicky's lyrics, you get the impression that they're more closed, and you're often unaware of what they're actually doing."

"Yes, that's the right word. They act on the life I lead at home in Wales. I have no social life. I watch TV, walk with the dog and write. At least half of the album is therefore very private. James and Sean probably understand it because they know me well, but you do not have that advantage. "Is the question of whether it is not difficult, to write when you have little input.

Wire: "I get my inspiration from television, books and magazines, I do not live by experience."

"Still, I would be interested, of which songs like "Black Dog On My Shoulder" or "The Everlasting" act."

Wire: "'Black Dog' is about depression, it's an expression Winston Churchill used, he suffered from depression, the song is supposed to show that depression affects everyone, the housewife or factory worker, it's not rock'n' roll. "The Everlasting" is the tradition of 'Motorcycle Emptiness' - the road leads nowhere."

The first single will be "If You Tolerate This, Then Your Children Will Be Next", an outstanding song, who is likely to make it one in England and whose text is inspired by the Spanish Civil War.

In 1936, people from all parts of the world joined the Red Brigades to fight for socialism. Only the Manic Street preachers can write such a song: their connection of pop, politics and glamor is unique in today's world, and one must be grateful for their existence.

In the NME, Wire said, "Today people have nervous breakdowns because of their damn holidays. No one would fight for a thing like the Red Brigades did to fight Fascism because they knew it was wrong , regardless of economic interests. " By the way, this song also criticizes the productive-oriented socialization of young people, In the British music press, the old fans are often portrayed as the real ones, while the new trailers simply float with the current.

A piece like "Born A Girl" from the new album looks as if the new fans like the Manic Street Preachers for the right reasons. The chorus of the song is: "And I wish I had been born a girl instead of this mess of a man". Bradfield: "We are already aware that a large number of our new fans, who are male, white and heterosexual, will be thinking about this piece: 'Fuck you!"

"When I give James new lyrics, I often say, 'That's something old school failed.' The song you've mentioned is already a good test, to distinguish the old from the new fans."

It must be a strange situation to sing a lyric in front of thousands of people. "Yeah, but not stranger than some of The Holy Bible's songs." Bradfield said, "To which I am emotionally completely contrary. So I'm used to something like that. I understand it, but can not accept it for me. 'Born A Girl' is probably as far from my psyche as possible, but that is perhaps the privileged position I am in.

There's scope for interpretations. "Wire:" I mean, some of Richey's texts acted on his anorexia or the way he slit his arms, and this is just as much to do with James as 'Born A Girl'. James says he loves steak and french fries, and he can not see blood."

In My Little Empire," My ideology, it is dead and gone. "One expression of the retreat? We have just spoken of withdrawal, and this is probably the most expressive song. What I need to avoid being mad are the four walls that surround me, my TV and my pen. "As a matter of principle left, the Manics still understand each other it is easy for one in the guts to have a socialist attitude that never disappears. Unfortunately, this is less and less important in the UK.

It's getting less and less every day, and that's basically the whole of Europe. "Wire agrees that he's doing politics by writing songs." 'South Yorkshire Mass Murderer', for example, from the Hillborough disaster when all the Liverpool fans died. Football is somehow still part of a socialist culture.

My political attitude may no longer be so directly noticeable, at some point you can simply no longer write songs about the monarchy. "It is more melancholy," he says, "but it is more melancholy," he says, weakens Wire. "I would not speak of giving up, because we still exist. But I know what you mean. It is so that the last album has turned out to be rather euphoric.

It should show that we are still there and make music. With the new record, we were not so euphoric, even if it is not as gloomy as 'The Holy Bible' - at least as far as the musical side is concerned. If the music were as gloomy as the lyrics, it would be too depressing.

"In my opinion, the 98 version of the Manic Street preachers oscillates between a ubiquitous larmoyante and a constant attempt to overcome it to abandon himself, but again and again he forces himself to justify his existence and his role in the band, and in this sense the Songtitel"

The Manic Street Preachers in 1998 have reached the stage of a wisdom that has matured through many experiences without experiencing pedophile experience. As mentioned above, Nicky Wire's experience does not consider decisive. Nevertheless, it can not be denied that they have undergone a change which has been consistently positive. Without a provocative provocation, their vision is much more undented, and with the new record, they have clearly delivered a masterpiece that is both textually and musically more subtle.

The texts have become more encrypted and avoid pathetic words and gestures. There is a higher degree of abstraction which at the same time means a simplification of the means of representation. Thus, the text avoids "If You Tolerate This..." vocabulary, which would clearly point to its subject. Large and meaningful words are replaced by details. Instead of formalism, the new texts are characterized by economics, perhaps resulting from the self-doubts the band has cultivated since Richey James's disappearance. The music reveals loosened structures, without completely passing away from bombastic passages.

Again, the tendency towards a new, more pop-oriented orientation is a central aspect. About the live presentation of the new album, the band had not thought about at the time of the interview. "We will not try to present every detail as it is on the album," Bradfield says. "We're on the stage to have fun." Wire: " Maybe we do not play half the songs. It's probably going to be the same purring sound as ever, haha! "Also a way to separate the old ones from the new fans...