James Dean Bradfield makes a weary impression. He voiced the opinion that this was the consequence of his promotional trip, but he contradicts it: That's okay, he's just not used to getting up early. And indeed, at the beginning of the interview, it becomes clear what he is so worried about: he has to justify once again a new album of Manic Street Preachers. As with any release, it also falls to "Know Your Enemy" questions and allegations from all sides. On the one hand, the Manics have always made the effort to comment on everything and, if necessary, correct it. The fact that this struggle has left its mark after ten years is only too obvious.
A BATTLE ON TWO FRONTS
The Manic Street Preachers had a hard time from the start, or they made themselves doubly difficult from the start. Already her first single "Suicide Alley" (1990) was also a political manifesto, which caused a lot of attention in terms of content and music - which was partly due to the fact that England had been ruled for years by the Tories and Stock, Aitken & Waterman. The same game was repeated on every record: from the mainstream, the Welsh had to listen, they were too far left politically, from the left, their music was too mainstream. This conflict, which escalated when Richey James disappeared and Nicky Wire began to write the lyrics, culminated in the last album, which was scolded: as a political and musical statement too softly flushed, "This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours "lost the bite, and the former zest for action had given way to lethargy. - These allegations did not pass without a trace on the Manics.
BACK TO BASICS
However, the new oeuvre stands for a turnaround - although first sounds and news suggest otherwise. "So Why, So Sad," released as the first new track on the band's home page as a Real Audio Stream, sounded like a beach boys track with no corners or edges, let alone bite. And then there was the intention to play the first gig on "Know Your Enemy" in Cuba. All this made the band seem disconnected from the current musical and political situation, moreover: backwards. The appearance in Havana according to Bradfield was actually a short-circuit idea. A friend had some references to Cuba noticed, Nicky Wire then said that it was certainly great to perform there, the manager had wanted to see, What you can do - and suddenly you were confronted with a declaration of consent from Cuba. However, playing there has a high symbolic value for the band, after all, it is often underestimated that Cuba is still suffering from the US embargo. Therefore, the band wants their performance to be understood as a gesture of solidarity. And as for "So Why, So Sad": here you have gone to the Manics on the glue. Not least the video makes it clear that the band could reactivate one of its former strengths: cynicism. So you see people who lie to the sweet melody on the beach, while there is war around them. that Cuba is still suffering from the US embargo. Therefore, the band wants their performance to be understood as a gesture of solidarity.
And as for "So Why, So Sad": here you have gone to the Manics on the glue. Not least the video makes it clear that the band could reactivate one of its former strengths: cynicism. So you see people who lie to the sweet melody on the beach, while there is war around them. The same is true. For example, "Miss Europe Disco Dancer": at the end of the poppiest piece of the record is called "Braindead Motherfucker" - this may well be one of the snappiest comments on the state of culture in England since, indeed, since "The Holy Bible".
ON TO NEW SHORES
Characteristic of "Know Your Enemy" is not only the reactivation of old strengths, but also the effort to develop even further on the sixth album. After all, they do not want to end up like the Ramones, says Bradfield, who at the end of their careers looked just like they did at the beginning and otherwise would not have changed much.
"I always think of the Ramones, who looked the same at the beginning as they did at the end, they sang like they did in the beginning, that's the kind of thing I want to avoid, I do not want to be in a band going to every record Following the same pattern. This project manifests itself in many ways, but most clearly in the two presets that were set for "Know Your Enemy": no rehearsals before the recordings in order to get the pieces as raw as possible, and - quite simply - no strings.
That it still does not always go without pathos ("Ocean Spray"), is quickly forgiven, because ultimately this song is an attempt: the lyrics are the first time by James Dean Bradfield. This new or reorientation leaves hope for the band - even if Bradfield is now thinking about stopping aloud. Who knows, maybe the fight will not be so exhausting in the future.