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Generation Terrorists

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Album Review

Debut albums rarely come as ambitious as the Manic Street Preachers' Generation Terrorists. Released in England as a double album (it was trimmed to the length of a single record in America), the album teemed with slogans, political rhetoric, and scarily inarticulate angst. Since the Manics deliver these charged lyrics as heavy guitar-rockers, the music doesn't always hit quite as forcefully as intended. The relatively polished production and big guitar sound occasionally sell the music short, especially the lesser songs, yet the Manics' passion is undeniable, even on the weaker cuts. While the album is loaded with a little bit too much unrealized material in retrospect, its best moments — the fiery "Slash N' Burn," "Little Baby Nothing," the incendiary "Stay Beautiful," the sardonic "You Love Us," and the haunting "Motorcycle Emptiness" — capture the Manics in all their raging glory.

Customer Reviews

Neon Loneliness

You have to put this record in the proper context to fully appreciate it. This album was designed to be a grenade that would blow away the grebo, traveler, baggy, and shoegazy scenes of early 1990s British music and replace them with a blast of intentionally out of date working-class hard rock, punk idealism, and intelligent lyrics that were actually about very real, very specific things - banking, advertising, and consumerism, British and American politics, and a cutting critique of modern global culture. The Manics were considered a joke when they first came out with this record because of their youthful sloganeering and supposedly unoriginal style. What the dismissers didn't catch was that the Manics were blessed with two of the greatest artists of their generation: one of the most original and sensitive British lyricists ever - the late Richey Edwards - and the guitar god who could shoehorn his sprawling words into rock verses - James Dean Bradfield. And the songs they (along with bassist Nicky Wire and drummer Sean Moore) created here are all national treasures. Over the top? Yes. Does everything work? No. Brilliant nonetheless? Absolutely. What an achievement this album is. "Slash and Burn," "Nat West," "Motorcycle Emptiness," "Stay Beautiful," "Love's Sweet Exile," "Little Baby Nothing," and "Condemned to Rock and Roll" in particular all rock spectacularly, providing a euphoria that's complemented by Richey's cries from the soul. Yes, Nicky co-wrote many of the words, but let's face it - Richey's lyrics are what ultimately made the Manics so unique and gave them their depth. I mean, who before or since has written anything like "Death sanitized through credit" or "Gorgeous poverty of created needs" or "Just like lungs sucking on air/Survival is as natural as sorrow"? Looking forward to the 20th anniversary reissue later this year!!

The start of something big

This album was hyped big time. I eagerly bought it based on the video for Slash n Burn. It is ambitious and arrogant, but also sweetly sentimental at times. It landed with a thud here in the US. You can see its impact in that only two old guys have written reviews. There are a lot of songs that hold up. I still get a smile when Little Baby Nothing pops up on my iPod and the closer, Condemned to Rock and Roll is surely in the running for least appreciated great rock anthem ever - it is a classic in so many ways. Americans, even alternative rocking Americans, weren't ready for this punch in the mouth: literate, different syncopation (I love how the drums are recorded - they sound great), full of profanity, and in your face about the absurdities of modern culture. This was true alternative rock, and it spawned worldwide success and a very long career for these Welshmen.

Biography

Formed: 1991 in Blackwood, Caerphilly, Wales

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Dressed in glam clothing, wearing heavy eyeliner, and shouting political rhetoric, the Manic Street Preachers emerged in 1991 from their hometown of Blackwood, Wales, as self-styled "Generation Terrorists." Fashioning themselves after the Clash and the Sex Pistols, the Manics were on a mission, intending to restore revolution to rock & roll at a time when Britain was dominated by trancey shoegazers and faceless, trippy acid house. Their self-consciously dangerous image,...
Full Bio
Generation Terrorists, Manic Street Preachers
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