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The Best Albums In The World...Ever! - Melody Maker, 5th January 2000

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To celebrate the end of the 20th centure, we ask the king of Indie, that's Nicky Wire, to tell us about his favourite albums of all time. REVOLVER - THE BEATLES (parlophone 1966)

"quot;It took me a long time to acknowledge The Beatles. It was kind of a punk hangover because they were so nice and tuneful and everything, and you wanted to make something more extreme. But gradually you realised they were as varied and as left-field, and lyrically they pushed as many barriers as anybody. I think 'Revolver' sums that up perfectly. I love 'The White Album' as well, but that's a lottle too up-it's-own-arse."


"It's probably my most played album of all time. There was a period when the band wa starting, in '87, and '88, when the whole ethos of Manic Street Preachers was this album. Much as we liked the first two, this was the one where it seemed like The Clash were a worldwide phenomenon. There's so much varied music on here, it's so well produced, so well played, the lyrics are fantastic, the artwork is amazing. It's our equivalent to [the Stones'] 'Exile On Main Street', if you like. I love that as well, but 'London Calling' has an edge, cos we grew up with it. 'If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next' was kind of inspired by 'Spanish Bombs', which is about the Spanish Civil War."


"It's a miserablist, living in Wales, lots of rain, quite isolated kinda thing. I think they were underrated as a live band as well. You see footage of them and they were so powerful. Ian Curtis was an amazing performer. The lyrics on this album were like nothing I'd ever heard. They were quite disturbing in a lot of ways - Ian Curtis pushed the boundaries further than most rock singers. I love the artwork too, the death of a star and all that."


"It's an album from my youth. The lost REM years. They've always said in interviews they were really miserable. They did it in Lodon, the only album they made outside America, and they always hated it, I think. I love 'Driver 8' and 'Maps and Legends' ...'Green Grow The Rushes'. Just something I used to play an awful lot. A lovely album."


"Public Enemy and Guns N' Roses both came about '88, '89, for us and though they were completely different, they represented global domination on different levels. It was the rock 'n' roll glamour of Guns N' Roses that I loved. 'Sweet Child O'Mine', 'Welcome To The Jungle', 'Paradise City' and 'Rocket Queen' ...they're all ingrained in my memory. They showed that you could be a real rock n' roll band when America was plagued with dodgy soft metal bands like Warrant and Motley Crue."


"It reminds me of my last year in university. The band was getting a few gigs and the odd sniff of a record deal, this album came out and we thought 'fuckin' 'ell, we're completely out of place!' Here was this amazing sixties psychadelic pop album, and we were making this mad punk music! We kind of hated it, even though we played it all the time. We felt really ostracised by it, but we knew it was important. It made us try a lot harder, made us focus. It was very much a cultural phenomenon."


"James always loved 'It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back' and he used to play that constantly, but I could never quite get into it as much as 'Fear Of A Black Planet'. 'Who Stole The Soul' and especially 'Burn Hollywood Burn' I thought were fuckin' amazing songs. I think those tow albums are the benchmark of rap, along with NWA's 'Straight Outta Compton'. It's sometimes the sign of a truly great band that you can't copy them, and no one could copy Public Enemy. The music was so fast for rap music and the lyrics were fantastic. Rap has metamorphosed into some pretty lame r'n'b now. It's become very decadent. A bit like rock in the seventies, it's turned into women and drugs and money."

IN UTERO - NIRVANA (geffen 1993)

"It could have been 'Nevermind', but 'In Utero' sums up a time in our lives when we needed something a lot more miserable. People forget how amazing Nirvana sound. It's one of the best bombastic drum sounds ever on this record. Only John Bonham comes close. 'All Apologies' is one of my favourite songs of all time. Kurt is a rock God and they're America's best band of the Nineties, I think. Did I ever meet him? No. To be honest, I always go out of my way to avoid meeting anybody I admire, cos there's always that chance of being let down."


"I just love it. It's fantastic. And that's all I'm going to say about it."


"I always find it quite difficult to deal with the dance genre as such, but I think massive Attack are the one band that fuse every kind of music and every kind of style. 'Risingson' is just one of the scariest fuckin' songs ever made. They're the defining band of the Nineties in a lot of ways. They show the eclectic nature of the way music has gone in Britain. They've just done a mix of one of our songs which we use as an intro tape live. Damon outof Blur has done some stuff with them. I think they're a fantastic representation of multi-cultural Britain, really."