Manic Street Preachers: The Holy Bible

theholybibleThere’s something that’s just so almost about this. And it’s not like I like it a little and it’s almost great. It’s like I almost love it but don’t even really like it. My appreciation of it is all checklist-based. Heavy music: check. Acerbic lyrics: check. Progressive song structure: check. But it doesn’t grab me. It’s got a bad case of Marillion syndrome or something.

Maybe I’ve just outgrown this type of thing. Maybe if I’d heard this back in 1994 I’d be a huge fan. Maybe it’s the mid-range emphasis and generally dry sound that leaves me cold.

For a while I was going on they hypothesis that I would like it more if I could understand more than just the occasional America-hating (something I always prefer be done by Americans; Manic Street Preachers are Welsh) lyric. And then I read the lyrics as I listened and I actually liked it a lot less. Apparently these lyrics were written first and the lyricists and songwriter are not the same people…and that’s not surprising at all. The music never fits the lyrics, the lyrics are never lyrical, and the delivery of the lyrics ignores pretty much all American-English prosody. (As an aside the guy who wrote most of these lyrics disappeared shortly after this album was released. I don’t have anything to say about that, but something like that looms large over a CD and I can’t really let that go unmentioned.)

From about halfway through the eighth track, “Mausoleum,” to the end of the album (13 tracks in total), things are pretty awesome. Almost awesome enough to keep it at three clowns. Almost.

Rating:
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Mix: “P.C.P.”
– “Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit’sworldwouldfallapart,” “This Is Yesterday,” “Die In The Summertime”
– “Yes,” “She Is Suffering,” “Revol,” “4st 7lb,” “Mausoleum,” “Faster,” “The Intense Humming Of Evil”
– “Of Walking Abortion,” “Archives Of Pain”
Song Notes: After the jump

  1. Yes – one of the better songs on the album. Sounds like a single. Or maybe I wouldn’t like it better if I read the lyrics. From reading on Wikipedia, sounds like lyrics got written first on this album then people wrote the songs for them. And never was the vocalist involved. And you can tell because the lyrics don’t fit the song and the singing gets the accents all mucked up. This definitely has some good moments, but it’s borderline open/full, whichever way I decide to go.
  2. Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit’sworldwouldfallapart – Here’s one where I really dig the chorus, where he’s singing about the flags, but the verses where he’s totally staccato and with no respect for prosody doing a we didn’t start the fire kind of thing…. This is right in the same borderline place as the first one. I think this one’s a bit better though. It’s just got too many good parts to leave open.
  3. Of Walking Abortion – Just too acerbic in the end. Too much misanthropy in the title, I think, for me to enjoy at all.
  4. She Is Suffering – Too much trudging through the valleys, not enough time on the mountains (which are nice, but also get old by the end of the song).
  5. Archives Of Pain – I like the guit solo. pretty boring otherwise. I hate the sample at the beginning about God giving life (why does he “taketh it away” but merely “give it” (i.e., not giveth)).
  6. Revol – This is already the third song on the album where he spends a good chunk of time just naming world leaders.
  7. 4st 7lb – meh
  8. Mausoleum – Verses are super boring, but then the bridge (or part B) and chorus are pretty awesome. Oh maybe it’s the C part.
  9. Faster – There are parts all over this album where I’m reminded of something else in a very quick flash. The start of this song, the “I am an architect” line is one of those places. Another track where reading the lyrics ended up being more of a disappointment than anything else.
  10. This Is Yesterday – “I stare at the sky/and it …” Nice bass line.
  11. Die In The Summertime –
  12. The Intense Humming Of Evil – pretty boring. “Six mile” it sounds like.
  13. P.C.P. –
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