Friday, February 03, 2006

Manic Street Preachers

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While they are a band that has achieved global success in much the same vein as U2 or Robbie Williams, just like the former Take That member, the Manic Street Preachers have been unable to crack the market in the States. Easily one of my favorite ten bands of all time, the Manics' lack of commercial success in the U.S. boggles my mind. Their early albums show a scrappy band that merged the best Joe Strummerisms with the grunge of the early 90s to create a sound that was not only appealing to the ears, but one that also carried a message. By the time the band released their career-defining The Holy Bible in 1995, the band's legacy was secure; they have achieved massive commercial success without marginalizing their message.

An interesting backstory to the band was that of guitarist Richey Edwards, who was troubled in much the same as Kurt Cobain. On February 1, 1995, Edwards disappeared. Many thought foul play and other believed that he ran away from success. The group splintered and then returned in 1997 to release Everything Must Go, an album that melded their punk anthems with stadium-ready rock. It has been a precarious line they have straddled since then, and the symbiosis between their socialist stance and new embrace of commercialism has at times been confusing and not easy to accept from older, hardline fans, but the band still writes great songs. The band may not be the same as they were in the early 90s, but every good bands evolves. The Clash, a band that the Manics often mirror, did the same thing and produced artistically-viable music after their commercial success.

To this day, Richey has never been found.

MySpace: Manic Street Preachers
Audio: "You Love Us"
Audio: "Nat West-Barclays-Midland-Lloyds"
Audio: "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"
Audio: "The Love of Richard Nixon"


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