Follow Us on Twitter

Manic Street Preachers - National Treasures: The Complete Singles

Manic Street Preachers, National Treasures

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

HAVING reached the landmark of releasing 10 studio albums last year, Manic Street Preachers now put together National Treasures, their complete singles collection.

And while the name may be slightly presumptuous (as the Manics have been an acquired taste for much of their career), the 38 tracks that span their 21-year career to date do boast some highlights.

Split over two CDs, the album kicks off with the high-flying Motown Junk and ends in the forthcoming new single, This Is The Day, which marks the first time since 1992’s Suicide Is Painless (Theme from M*A*S*H) that the Manics have released a cover version as a single despite recording and playing live many versions of their favourite tracks over the years.

This Is The Day (released on November 7) is a cover of the 1983 The The track taken from the synth-noir classic album Soul Mining and finds the band remaining as faithful as possible to the original while placing their guitars to the fore and a vaguely ‘60s vibe also thrown in.

Elsewhere, there are plenty of crowd-pleasing moments that reflect how unapologetically bold and forthright James Dean Bradfield and co have been over the years.

These include La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh), Motorcycle Emptiness, Suicide Is Painless, Everything Must Go and A Design For Life on CD1 (the latter, especially, one of the band’s timeless anthems).

CD2, meanwhile, opens with one of their biggest hits, If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next and a prime example of how they’ve consistently been able to mix honest, open and sometimes bolshy lyricism with catchy instrumentation and pop savvy.

Worth stopping to appreciate again on CD2, meanwhile, are The Everlasting, You Stole The Sun From My Heart, Tsunami, So Why So Sad, Ocean Spray, Let Robeson Sing, There By The Grace of God, Your Love Alone Is Not Enough and current single, This Is The Day.

As with most best of or singles collections that are released this time of year, National Treasures does showcase how enduring the Manic Street Preachers have been over the years and why they’ve been able to adapt and remain at the top of the music game for so long.

Yes, they probably play more strictly to their long-time fanbase than some acts (U2, Coldplay, etc) but there are plenty of pearls among the 38 songs collected here, which makes them worth revisiting even if they’re not quite national treasures!

Download picks: La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh), Motorcycle Emptiness, Suicide Is Painless, Everything Must Go, A Design For Life, If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next, The Everlasting, You Stole The Sun From My Heart, Tsunami, So Why So Sad, Ocean Spray, Let Robeson Sing, There By The Grace of God, Your Love Alone Is Not Enough, This Is The Day

Track listing:
CD1:

  1. Motown Junk
  2. Stay Beautiful
  3. Love’s Sweet Exile
  4. You Love Us
  5. Slash ‘N’ Burn
  6. Motorcycle Emptiness
  7. Theme From M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless)
  8. Little Baby Nothing
  9. From Despair To Where
  10. La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh)
  11. Roses In The Hospital
  12. Life Becoming A Landslide
  13. Faster
  14. Revol
  15. She Is Suffering
  16. A Design For Life
  17. Everything Must Go
  18. Kevin Carter
  19. Australia

Disc: 2

  1. If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
  2. The Everlasting
  3. You Stole The Sun From My Heart
  4. Tsunami
  5. The Masses Against The Classes
  6. So Why So Sad
  7. Found That Soul
  8. Ocean Spray
  9. Let Robeson Sing
  10. There By The Grace Of God
  11. The Love Of Richard Nixon
  12. Empty Souls
  13. Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
  14. Autumnsong
  15. Indian Summer
  16. (It’s Not War) Just The End Of Love
  17. Some Kind Of Nothingness
  18. Postcards From A Young Man
  19. This Is The Day