Manic Street Preachers Discography - Part Ten: And More Besides (sorry)
Here we are. The end. The actual end. I'm sorry i've been a bit slow in getting this series of articles finished, but working full time and commuting for an hour each way really does cut down on my spare time and mean that I can only do these bigger posts at the weekend. Hopefully soonish i'll be able to live closer to work and correct that!
Anyway, we've now had the full rundown of all of the Manics studio albums, and so I thought as they've released soooo many bsides (around 75 or so by my reckoning), I could finish things of on a more positive note than my Lifeblood review by looking at some of them. The Manics have of course released a bsides collection, the worthy but VERY incomplete Lipstick Traces (pictured above), but as you've just read in that last sentence, it was incomplete. What's more annoying is that some of the bands very best songs (along with a few of their funniest and their worst) were left off of it.
Therefore below i've provided a sort of Lipstick Traces volume2 to make your collections more complete. Ten tracks from the 50 that remain hard to find (a full list of uncompiled Manics rarities is at Wiki. So what's included?
First up we have Charles Windsor (my sequencing went out of synch here, as this was the last of the GATS era bsides i'm putting up to be released!), a McCarthy cover taken from the Life Becoming A Landslide EP. Short, punchy, a stunning performance that sees the Manics at their most authentically punk sounding. A great re-interpretation of a great song. Second is Hibernation, a rather lovely acoustic song taken from the La Tristesse single. It's funny how some Manics songs really do sound like they should have come from other albums despite when they were released. Personally I think this song, both musically and lyrically sounds like an Everything Must Go bside, and indeed as it doesnt share the production sound of the surrounding GATS songs, i've always thought it was a little out of place.
Third we have one of the bands most notorious songs, the luverly American Psycho/Less Than Zero/Taxi Driver inspired Patrick Bateman. It's been rumoured that it was considered as a single, but as the chorus was I fucked god in the ass, that was never really likely at all, was it? Taken from the La Tristessa 12", it's a stomping Metallica like rocker with some great lines here and there, but to my ears doesn't quite sound as cool anymore as it did when I was 14. Us Against You is a storming track from the Roses single, far better than most of the stuff on GATS and a lot catchier. As i've said before, the band would often put fantastic songs on the bsides in order to include inferior songs on records merely because they fit into the overall mood. Nutters. Great vocal from James here!
Next up are two songs taken from 1994's Revol single, and again they're just as good as a lot of the material on The Holy Bible, and the only reason I could think why they weren't included on Lipstick Traces is because of some sort of discomfort coming from James and Nicky, as they're both incredibly intense lyrics from Richey. Too Cold Here is probably the bands greatest acoustic moment. One of my top ten Manics songs. Love's Torn Us Under is almost as good. Completely wonderful, and i've not a clue why all the Holy Bible era bsides weren't collected on the 10th anniversary re-release as they were with the more recent EMG one (which is highly recommended by the way, and has totally got me back into that album!).
Montana Autumn 78, along with Prologue To History (which you can find on Traces), was one of the bsides to the Tolerate single. Both of these songs were so good that most Manics fans thought that Truth would be a far better album than it turned out to be, considering the band could afford to let two such good songs go as bsides. A big shame, and sounds a lot like it may have been left over from the EMG sessions. Black Holes For The Young makes me ROFL. LOL and ROFL and LOL. What the hell is that keyboard riff doing? Oh dear. It's a duet with Sophie Ellis Bextor. She sounds ace, but the songs a bit...odd? It hasn't got a good enough chorus to make itself work, and it really SHOULD work, because the premise is so good.
Locust Valley is that rarest of things, a pretty decent bside from one of the This Is My Truth singles. Nothing amazing, but worth a mention I think. Unwittingly this Lipstick Traces 2 thing has kind of provided a potted history of the band. Start off with punky mess, then bursts of metallic 80s rock interspersed with beautiful melodic bits, then missed opportunities and a slow decent into MORdom. And that's why the last song you're going to get is Nicky Wire's very own special song, Ballad Of Bangkok Novotel. Enjoy, my friends, and let's go commiserate over a bottle of Babycham.
So here we have it. Excuse the bad sound quality on a few of these, their tiny size comes from a time when I only had a 3gig hard drive, and so tried to conserve space by turning down the quality on all my mp3s. Oh those crazy days. Anyway i'd like to say thanks to everyone whose been reading, criticising and commenting on this series, has been a lot of fun and a nice walk down recent memory lane. After a (quite short) think about who my next discography series would be on, I've for some reason decided to go for someone who's going to be a hell of a lot of work. Mr Neil Young. This will probably run from now until 2023. Oh dear. Enjoy!
Manic Street Preachers - 01 Charles Windsor
Manic Street Preachers - 02 Hibernation
Manic Street Preachers - 03 Patrick Bateman
Manic Street Preachers - 04 Us Against You
Manic Street Preachers - 05 Too Cold Here
Manic Street Preachers - 06 Love's Torn Us Under
Manic Street Preachers - 07 Montana Autumn 78
Manic Street Preachers - 08 Black Holes For The Young
Manic Street Preachers - 09 Locust Valley
Manic Street Preachers - 10 Ballad Of Bangkok Novotel
Discography: (click to buy @ amazon.co.uk)